War on Drugs Heads to Court

7-10-04- Drug courts will open in five Oklahoma counties and expand in three others with new money the Legislature approved earlier this year.

More than $1.1 million dollars in new money was approved for the 2004-2005 fiscal year.

Courts will open in Garfield, Stephens, Grady, Carter and Okmulgee counties. Courts operating in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Comanche counties will be expanded.

State representative Jari Askins says drug court costs an average of about $2,500 dollars per person each year.

To send an offender to prison costs about $17,000 dollars each year.

Askins says drug-related offenders receive no help with their addictions while in prison.

Four of the five counties receiving money to open courts were selected because each sent 50 or more offenders to prison last year.