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LEE COUNTY DRUG COURT PROGRAM:

The Felony Drug Court program is a court-supervised, comprehensive treatment program for individuals involved in the criminal justice system with substance abuse issues. This program is designed to divert cases from the traditional court system, while helping defendants recover from drug and alcohol addiction, stay in recovery and become productive members of society. This program provides immediate and concentrated treatment, which includes supervision and monitoring by a drug court team, and a drug court Judge. The drug court team works with and helps the defendant to comply with requirements, but defendants must be committed to recovery to be successful in this program. Entry into the program is completely voluntary, but compliance is required while in the program and the defendant does not decide to stay or leave the program.

LEE COUNTY DRUG COURT PROGRAM:

The Felony Drug Court program is a specialty court designed to provide the tools and structure needed for individuals in the criminal justice system facing felony charges who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. It combines a unique team consisting of a Drug Court Judge, attorneys, treatment professionals, and other highly dedicated court officials, who work together on each individual’s case to provide the best support, structure, and services available for long term recovery and success. Final acceptance is determined by the Court, pursuant to Florida Statute 397.334.

The designated Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) employee tracks all referrals and investigates backgrounds to verify initial eligibility for the program. The designated AOC employee attends staffing and court regularly to inform the Drug Court Judge of defendants’ progress, compliance and history of court outcomes. The designated AOC employee serves as a liaison between the team and the court.

FAQ:

  1. What is the goal and purpose of the Lee County Drug Court program?
    While there are many program goals, the primary goal is to give defendants with severe drug addiction the tools needed to overcome their addiction, maintain a drug free life and become functional members of society. This goal and purpose affords tremendous potential rewards for defendants who commit to the program as many go on to repair the relationships with family, friends, spouses, and other members of the community.

  2. What are the requirements to get into Drug Court?
    The defendant must currently be facing a felony charge which can be a violation of probation or a new charge or both. Current or past criminal charges alleging acts of violence or sexual misconduct are generally not acceptable for program entry, although referrals are reviewed on a case by case basis. The defendant must be someone who suffers from drug addiction who seeks help in becoming a sober and functional member of society.

  3. How can someone apply to get into Drug Court?
    A family member, friend, attorney, or other can complete a Drug Court referral form and submit to the State Attorney’s office or Pretrial Services via fax or mail (see below). The State Attorney’s office, Public Defender’s Office or Pretrial Services can also refer an individual for Drug Court internally.

  4. Once someone is accepted into Drug Court, how long must they remain in the program?
    The program is made up of 5 phases, with phase 5 being aftercare. Each phase has requirements, benchmarks and goals which must be met before advancing into the next phase. In total, a motivated and determined defendant can complete the Drug Court program in 15 months but may take considerably longer for someone who is not committed to maintaining sobriety.

  5. What happens if someone in the program continually struggles with their addiction even after they have begun to receive treatment?
    Defendants who continue to struggle with addiction but are honest and showing effort in working toward seeking a drug free life will be reexamined periodically to ensure they are receiving the appropriate level of care. The Drug Court team and Judge will make all efforts to increase treatment to a higher level of care for those individuals in need. Individual and community safety is of utmost concern and always considered during the decision making process which may include a period of incarceration while a defendant is awaiting bed space at any given treatment facility. Ultimately, the Drug Court team and Judge work tirelessly with defendants who are willing to put forth the effort needed to sustain a life of sobriety.

  6. What goes on day to day for those individuals placed in Drug Court?
    Defendants in Drug Court who are working a good recovery program are very busy with a full schedule of varying activities focused on a life of sobriety. Although daily routines will vary from person to person, the average defendant placed in Drug Court will attend daily recovery support meetings [NA, CA, AA or similar], weekly or bi weekly individual meetings with a dedicated substance abuse clinician, weekly group meetings, monthly meetings with their probation officer, work diligently with a sponsor on the 12 steps of recovery, abide by curfew limitations, obtain employment consisting of at least 20 hours weekly, if unemployed perform community service at a minimum of 20 hours weekly, attend weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly court appearances depending on phase, submit to random and observed drug screens as directed, and follow all other handbook rules.

FORMS:

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LOCATION & TIME

The Honorable Josephine Gagliardi and The Honorable H. Andrew Swett preside over the Lee County Drug Court program. Court is typically held on Monday at 2:30 pm and Thursday at 1:30 pm in Courtroom 5G on the 5th floor of the Lee County Justice Center located at 1700 Monroe Street, Fort Myers Florida 33901.

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INFORMATION/CONTACTS

For more information about this program and/or to make a referral, please contact Lee County Criminal Division/Pretrial at (239) 533-8400. A referral form (download above) may also be submitted. For additional information contact:

Fax Number: 239 485-2510
Administrative Office of the Courts
Lee County Treatment Courts
1700 Monroe Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

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