Task Force for Opioid Drug Screening Convictions Update

The Task Force for Sentencing Opioid Drug Convictions met on March 6, 2018. This meeting was chaired by Rep. Greg Murphy, MD (R-Pitt).

NC Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission 

The North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission presented an overview of current sentencing laws on opioids. They reported that 40% of non-trafficking drug convictions were possession convictions. For misdemeanor convictions, drug convictions made up 25% of the crime types.

NC Department of Public Safety

Joe Prater from the NC Department of Public Safety provided a broad overview of prison population statistics in the state. He reported that NC has the 13th highest total prison population in the country. He stated that there has been a 65% increase over the last 10 years of inmates diagnosed with mental illness. This number includes approximately 17% of the population. Of the 17,000 inmates screened 71% indicated a need for intermediate or long-term substance abuse disorder treatment.

Sequential Intercept Model


Dr. Robert Kurtz, Ph.D., from the Department of Health and Human Services presented on the diversion of people with behavioral health disorders from the criminal justice system. He stated that about 17% of people in US jails have serious mental illness. This number is 3 to 4 times greater than the general public.

Hon. Joe Buckner, a District Judge from Orange County discussed the Judicially Managed Accountability and Recovery Court (JMARC) as a community collaborative. He stated that this Court provides accountability for actions, recovery for behavior disorders, and cost savings. It provides case management and access to medical and behavioral health therapy.

Hon. Marion Warren, from the Administrative Office of the Courts pointed out that there were only 22 drug treatment facilities out of the 44 districts.

*The next meeting date has not been set.*


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