Press Release

Congressman Cuellar Attends, Speaks at Drug Treatment Grant Announcement

$975,000 grant will help treat alcohol addiction in Webb County

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Laredo, October 20, 2015 | Riley Brands (202-226-0507) | comments
Today Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) attended and made remarks at the announcement of a $975,000 grant awarded to the Webb County 406th District Court by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant will be paid out over three years and will help the court continue and expand its Drug Court Program, which allows it to offer treatment to those who come through the system and are dependent on alcohol but not currently receiving treatment.

“It is great to see our courts receive this money,” Congressman Cuellar said. “Alcohol dependency is a terrible condition that hurts people and families across the region. By tackling this problem as a mental health issue and providing the proper substance abuse treatment, we can save taxpayer dollars and help prevent much of the harm done across the region by alcohol.

“I would like to thank Judge Hale and his staff for their work on the Drug Court Program and their commitment to helping people dependent on alcohol who end up in the courts. I would also like to thank Jesse Hernandez of La Familia Consulting and Counseling Services. For decades Mr. Hernandez has been helping people with alcohol dependency issues, and he will continue this work by serving as program evaluator under the new grant, preparing its performance assessment and ensuring the program is a success.

Through a partnership with PILLAR, a nonprofit that provides mental health care and substance abuse treatment services, the court’s drug program will expand to include both individualized and group treatment strategies that help people change unhealthy behavior by focusing on building solutions to reach desired goals and by giving participants the tools to deal with the stress of their affliction.

These funds will also save taxpayer dollars because treatment is much less expensive than its alternatives, such as incarcerating those addicted. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the average cost for one full year of methadone maintenance treatment is approximately $4,700 per patient, whereas one full year of imprisonment costs approximately $24,000 per person.

In addition to Congressman Cuellar, the event was attended by Judge Oscar J. Hale Jr. of the 406th District Court, Judge Becky Palomo of the 341st Judicial District Court, who works closely with Judge Hale on the Drug Court Program, and Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar. Just last week, Congressman Cuellar attended a grant announcement at the Webb County Court at Law II for a similar program to tackle DWI recidivism. Together, the grants total more than $1.9 million over three years and will help treat the problems caused by alcohol dependence in Webb County.
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