NMI, Guam drug court professionals undergo training


From left, Superior Court Associate Judge Wesley M. Bogdan, Dr. Kathleen West, National Drug Court Institute director Vanessa Price, John Haroldson, CNMI Drug Court manager TaAnn Kabua-Demapan, Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio, Guam Superior Court Judge Anita A. Sukola, and Guam Superior Court Judge Arthur R. Barcinas. (Contributed Photo)

Drug court professionals in the CNMI and Guam gathered for a two-day on-demand training offered through the Adult Drug Court Training Initiative at the Guma Hustisia in Susupe.

The training, held on March 12–13, focused on expanding knowledge, enhancing skills, and improving outcomes among drug court teams.

The training included Vanessa Price, director of the National Drug Court Institute, lawyer John Haroldson, and Kathleen West DrPH.

Price, a retired Oklahoma police officer, has over 20 years of experience, an associate degree in Applied Police Science from Oklahoma State University and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Price spent over 10 years with the Oklahoma County Drug Court and was instrumental in the development of their drug court program.

Haroldson is the first Latino elected to serve as district attorney in Oregon and has served as a prosecutor since 1988. He has also served as adjunct faculty for the National District Attorneys Association, the Conference of Western Attorneys General, the American Bar Association, the American Prosecutors Association, and Willamette University College of Law.

As district attorney, Haroldson has been a strong drug treatment court advocate and has taken an active role promoting a successful mentor program.

West is a public health professional with expertise in public mental health, substance use disorders, and psychotropic medication issues. Her career has focused on intergenerational trauma, maternal and child health, trauma-informed care, and serving at-risk individuals, families, and communities, primarily as they intersect with judicial systems.

She directed the California Drug Endangered Children Resource Center, developing multidisciplinary team interventions with methamphetamine labs in the 1990s and continues work with DEC teams.

The first day of the training included a plenary look at the key components of adult drug courts, best practice standards, team guides to effective drug treatment, and a discussion by West regarding intergenerational trauma. The second day focused on incentives, constitutional issues, and individual team training.

Drug courts and other treatment courts have been researched more than any other justice system intervention in history. They reduce drug use and recidivism, and save taxpayer dollars. This year, treatment courts will help people live lives of recovery, find employment, pay taxes, and give back to their communities.

The CNMI is grateful to have Price come and conduct the training. Special thanks to the Bureau of Justice Assistance, in partnership with the National Drug Court Institute, for sponsoring and offering technical assistance that allowed this training to be possible. (PR)

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