OnTrack concerns may impact Jackson County drug courts

Medford, Ore.- Department of Human Services concerns about OnTrack may lead to changes at Jackson County’s three drug courts, according to Judge Timothy Gerking.

Judge Gerking says the Community Justice Commission contracts with OnTrack for the delivery of drug court services. Since its inception, OnTrack has serviced the local drug courts, but the most recent contract ends in June.

“Over the years, 10 or 15 years, OnTrack has provided excellent service for our drug courts. Not only OnTrack, but its executive director Rita Sullivan,” said Judge Gerking. “We consider our drug courts to be on the cutting edge of this kind of innovative type of alternative treatment for folks who are alcohol or drug dependent.”

Drug court contracts last two years. The Community Justice Commission is currently accepting bids from drug service providers to serve during the next budget cycle. Those bids have to be in by April. If OnTrack puts in a bid, the Department of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority inspections of OnTrack may play a role in whether it receives a new contract.

“Our overarching concern is the safety of children and ensuring the services provided by our drug and alcohol service provider are effective and achieving the statutory goals that we’re required to adhere to,” Judge Gerking told NBC5 News. “We are in the process of evaluating the situation in light of the recent actions taken by DHS. We don’t have much more information than what is already contained in that letter. We are exploring options, but hoping OnTrack will continue to be a viable service provider.”

OnTrack is southern Oregon’s largest drug and alcohol rehabilitation services provider. Without its services, resources available to the drug court could be stretched thin.

Judge Gerking hopes a resolution can be reached that benefits everyone in the community.

“They’ve provided excellent service, not only to the courts but to the folks that are receiving those services. We have one of the best drug court programs, not only in the state, but in the country. So this is a really unfortunate development for Jackson County and our courts and those folks who need those services.”

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