A courtroom is not a place where you expect to find scenes of celebration and tears of joy, unless, of course, it is a drug court. In 2018, more than 150,000 individuals nationwide who entered the justice system due to addiction will receive lifesaving treatment and the chance to repair their lives, reconnect with their families and find long term recovery. National Drug Court Month is not only a celebration of the lives restored by drug court, it also sends the powerful message that these programs must be expanded to reach more people in need.


Nearly 30 years ago the first drug court opened its doors with a simple premise— rather than continue to allow individuals with long histories of addiction and crime to cycle through the justice system at a great expense to the public, use the leverage of the court to keep them engaged in treatment long enough to be successful. Today drug courts and other treatment courts have proven that a combination of accountability and compassion can not only save lives, but save valuable resources and reduce criminal justice costs.


Burnett County Circuit Court Judge Melissa Mogen who presides over Burnett County Drug Court stated: “I have seen firsthand what a drug court can do and achieve. A properly ran drug court reduces recidivism and helps put people on a path to sobriety and success. Drug courts significantly reduce the cost to our county as it is a more cost-effective alternative than sending addicts to jail. It costs Burnett County approximately $17,000 a year to incarcerate an addict, but only costs around $5000 a year to treat the same offender through drug court. Burnett County Drug Court is an asset not only to the participants, but to the community as well.”


Since its inception in 2006, Burnett County Drug and Alcohol Court has had 82 participants. Out of the 82 participants 49 have graduated, 27 terminated from the program, 1 was medically discharged, and we currently have 5 active participants. For the participant to remain successful after graduation as well as successful in the program they need to apply the tools they were given in the program. Recovery from alcohol and other drug abuse does not end on graduation day, it is an ongoing process where the life skills and self-esteem that were developed in treatment are necessary for long term sobriety.


Treatment Courts demonstrate that when one person rises out of substance use and crime, we all rise, and the time has come to put a treatment court within reach of every eligible person in need!


Burnett County Drug Court is held the first and third Thursday of the month at 9:30am.  If you have any questions please contact Tessa Anderson, Drug Court Coordinator at 715-349-8878 or at tanderson@burnettcounty.org


Submitted by: Tessa Anderson, Drug Court Coordinator

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