Friday, May 27, 2011

National Drug Court Month

National Drug Court Month is a powerful demonstration to raise awareness of the beneficial roles Drug Courts play in society both socially and financially.

What do Drug Courts Do?
They provide an alternative to incarceration facilities for non-violent, drug involved offenders. Drug courts differ from regular courts in the fact that they allow for collaboration among judiciary, correction agencies, drug treatment providers, and other community groups which allows the individual to receive the appropriate level of punishment while simultaneously receiving treatment to solve their substance abuse problem (which is likely to have caused the problem in the first place). If these individuals were to be incarcerated they likely would not receive the necessary level of treatment to solve their addiction, and upon release, they are more likely to become repeat offenders, thus costing the American tax payers more money. Drug courts allow for the proper balance between the need for treatment and the need for accountability (supervision, probation, monthly court appearances). The balance presented by these two elements, which is not found in traditional court settings in relation to other illegal behaviors, has proven to successfully prevent future criminal activity, reduce financial burden of repeatedly processing non-violent offenders through the national court/jail system, and increase treatment and recovery of substance abusers.

Some Facts & How They Show the Benefits of Drug Courts:
  • 80% of prison inmates abuse drugs and alcohol and nearly 50% are clinically deemed addicts
  • approx. 60% of individuals arrested for a variety of crimes test positive for elicit drugs at the time of arrest
    • Substance abuse issues play a major role in inmates cause for imprisonment
  • 60-80% of drug abusers become repeat offenders after released from prison
  • about 95% return to using drugs after release
    • imprisonment has little effect on drug use
  • unless regularly supervised while in prison, 60-80% inmates drop out of treatment before successful completion
    • providing treatment without holding individual legally accountable
  • drug courts are 6 times more likely to keep offenders in treatment long enough for them to get better
    • proper balance between the need for treatment and the need for accountability
  • Drug courts reduce crime more than any other program
    • effects on crime last for years, if not decades
  • Preserve families and save abused and neglected children
    • parents who go through Family Drug Courts are more likely to go to treatment and complete it & their children spend significantly less time separated from them
  • For every federal dollar invested in Drug Courts,  $4.30 is leveraged in state funding
    If Drug Courts were expanded to treat all eligible individuals, this would save $2.14 for every $1 invested = $1.17 billion annually!
    • Drug Courts save tax payers $$$ but are not reaching the many citizens who could benefit from them

Overall, by increasing the number of Drug Courts around the country, more individuals who need help along with tax payers would benefit. In addition, future criminal activity would be greatly decreased along with the financial burden of processing low-level non violent arrestees through the nation's courts and prisons. Drug courts balance the need for treatment and the need for accountability, which is not seen in the regular court system. The goal of National Drug Court Month is to raise awareness of the need & benefit of such institutions as to give those who suffer from substance abuse and addiction, along with their loved ones, hope and redemption along with improvement in public heath and community safety!

References & for more information:

Saturday, May 21, 2011


After a beautiful commencement ceremony at UB's Alumni Arena, I am officially a Canisius College graduate!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's GO time!

I'm back! After a few months of really hard work, I can FINALLY say I am a graduate (with honors!) from Canisius College and an official certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) as I passed my boards! I will walk at graduation this coming Saturday and I can not wait to celebrate all of my hard work... what a relief! But.. now the ever important preparations for Miss NY take the forefront. It's GO time!

Here is some of what I have been doing the past month or so:

Dyngus Day: April 25
It was an honor to be part of one of the world's most popular Dyngus Day parades, right in the heart of Buffalo, NY! The parade, run by Dyngus Day Buffalo and Dyngus Day USA, promotes public awareness of Buffalo as the Dyngus Day Capital of the World. It is the goal of the organization to grow Dyngus Day through public awareness and education and to promote Polish customs with accuracy, integrity, and liveliness. Dyngus Day USA is an ongoing contributor to the promotion and development of Polish American culture throughout North America. Jeszcze Polonia Nie Zginęła!

Visit to KED & Renaissance Campus:

The mission of the Kids Escaping Drugs organization is to raise, manage and distribute funds for the development and support of facilities, education and prevention programs for adolescents and their families in Western New York suffering from alcohol and drug dependency/addiction. The Campus consists of three buildings that house up to 62 chemically-dependent youths ages 12 to 20. Renaissance House is a 30 bed intensive treatment facility for boys, Stepping Stones is a 16 bed girls' residence which combines both inpatient and continuum of care programs while Promise House is a 16 bed continuum of care residence for boys. Visiting the campus and learning about just how much of a problem substance abuse is in the WNY area, primarily in middle and High School aged kids, was a real eye opener and certainly instilled a greater drive for me to make an impact with my platform of Peer, Community & Family Influence on Curbing Substance Abuse. My visit allowed me to connect with members of the organization in a capacity that will allow me to do this and for that I am excited and grateful. This trip was a success!

CMN Bachelor Auction in Corning
This has been one of the most fun appearances I have had thus far! It was awesome to connect with the community in which my title represents along with raising just over $3,000 for the Children's Miracle Network! I escorted the handsome bachelors along with Miss FL 2010 Amy Valenti, Miss Greater Rochester 2011 Chelsea Prophet, and Stacey Minchin Miss NY International. Our choreographed dances and skits down the runway stole the show and helped to show the ladies how worthy these guys were of bidding on!

Kids Escaping Drugs & NHS Walk for Kids: For 19 years, the Kids Escaping Drugs Campaign and the local National Honor Society chapters have been working together to raise over $280,000 for Renaissance Campus with the Walk for Kids event! This year's walk was held at Canisius College's Koessler Athletic Center, which was especially cool for me because as a Sports Medicine major I have spent a lot of time there and it was a great last memory to create there. I worked the raffle table and was so lucky to have met Josh who is a graduate of Renaissance House and who shared his story of triumph over addiction with me. He was  beyond inspiring and someone that I will continue to confide in for help with work related to my platform. The entire event was so well put together and an amazing way for High School kids to do their part to support substance abuse awareness and help put an end to the ever prevalent issue that they experience among their peers on a daily basis!

So now that I am caught up you can expect regular updates with a lot of fun stuff!