By Megan Sando
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Teens facing drug charges rely on the Payne County Drug Court to keep them out of juvenile detention centers.
Without funding from the Stillwater United Way, Payne County Drug Court would not be able to provide services to youth.
United Way Executive Director Sheri Carter said $25,000 will be allotted to the drug court for the coming year.
“About 5 percent of our total budget,” Carter said.
Funding provides for random drug testing, counseling and mandatory court appearances.
Noel Bagwell, interim executive director for the Payne County Drug Court, said the money allows them to offer a smaller version of the adult drug court to juveniles.
“We work with the district attorney and Office of Juvenile Affairs to provide them with treatment guidelines — whether it’s marijuana, methamphetamine or alcohol,” he said.
Youth must be under the age of 18. The drug court sees clients from anyone in the Payne County area such as Perkins or Cushing.
The juveniles participate in group counseling on Tuesdays and court dates on Thursday.
Each year, the three-monthlong program is reviewed.
Bagwell said there is a possibility of adding another month. The OJA is notified when the juvenile completes the program.
In the review process, the drug court reaches out to see what has happened to the juvenile since completing the program.
“Our hopes with reviewing is that we are able to reach the juvenile and keep them out of the adult court system,” he said.
Stephanie Stackenwalt has been counseling for more than 10 years.
She said many youth are third generations of drug use in their family.
“The best definition for drug addiction that I know is ‘Running from self,’ ” Stackenwalt said.