First of its kind drug recovery program opening in Morgan County

WARTBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- In the small town of Wartburg, drugs - including methamphetamine and prescription drugs - are a major problem.

"It's really bad," said Morgan County Sheriff Glen Freytag.

In the last month, the Sheriff's Office has busted over 90 drug cases - most prescription pills.

"The pill problem seems to be pushing our thefts, breakins, all this," said Freytag.

He said counties across the state and nation are facing the same problem. But now there's new hope: the first state-wide residential Recovery Court is opening at the Morgan County Correctional Facility.

The 100 bed program will allow the state to divert people in need of substance abuse treatment or mental health services from prison to effective treatment programs.

The Tennessee Department of Correction said the reovery court will be different from other drug courts and recovery courts because it will be more intense. It will offer services 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.

"I think it sounds like a wonderful idea. And I think a lot of people would benefit greatly just if they could get help," said Jennifer Hall, a pharmacist at Apothecare Pharmacy in Wartburg.

Freytag said the program will open up space at the prison for violent offenders, while helping those addicted to drugs become productive citizens.

"Drug rehab. And then they're going to do some work with them on job skills and work ethics and all this. And then try to reintroduce them back into the counties that they are from," said Freytag.

It will also cost less. Prison costs about $65 a day per prisoner, while the recovery court will cost half that.

The state Department Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and Tennessee Department of Correction will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday. The facility is scheduled to open on Thursday, August 1.

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