Hillyard: more funding may be required to help drug and alcohol treatment in Utah

In this Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, photo, shows the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

“Fund more drug treatment.” That’s the message issued Monday by Utah Supreme Court Justice Michael Durrant in his annual State of the Judiciary address.

Durrant said an estimated 80% of all crimes involve some underlying drug or alcohol problem and, “from the court’s perspective the best thing we can do to reduce recidivism and increase public safety is to provide necessary drug and alcohol treatment.”

Utah Republican Senator Lyle Hillyard agrees and in a recent KVNU interview he said the rate of relapse for these kinds of crime is even greater than average in Utah.

“Rather than just simply locking them up,” said Hillyard, “where it may be even to their detriment and they get released without any help, we’re looking for alternatives.

“I think that may require some funding that we need to look at carefully because many of these are our children who end up with addictions or mental health issues that we end up locking up in prison and it doesn’t, in the long term, really solve the problem.”

Hillyard said we are fortunate to have both a drug court and a mental health court in Cache County but more money for treatment should be a priority.

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