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Vietnam vets learn about Forsyth County Drug Court
Bagley - photo by For the FCN


The Cumming Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America meets the first Monday of each month at Golden Corral restaurant on Market Place Boulevard. Dinner is at 6 p.m., with the meeting beginning at 7 p.m. All Vietnam-era veterans are invited to attend.

CUMMING — Forsyth County Chief Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley has presided over nearly every kind of case imaginable.

Yet it is his work in a special drug court that he describes as "a passion of mine." That, said the judge, is because of the positive impact it can have in turning lives around.

Bagley was the guest speaker at a recent meeting of the Cumming Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. He said those who qualify for the drug court program and follow its strict rules of attending treatment sessions, undergoing random drug screening and other requirements start showing they are changing their lives.

Begun in 2004, close to 300 people charged with felony drug possession have completed it and had their drug conviction dismissed "as if they never had a conviction," Bagley said. Fifteen people are scheduled to graduate the program Monday.

Bagley added that the program is selective, with violent offenders or those charged with selling drugs barred from participating.

For those who make the program, the chances of repeat crimes are about 15 percent compared to a recidivism rate of about 75 percent for people who go to prison, according to the judge.

Noting the number of veterans with clinical diagnoses of substance abuse, mental health issues or traumatic injuries, Bagley is looking at possibly forming a Veterans Treatment Court.

Bagley said he is trying to determine if there are sufficient numbers of troubled veterans in Forsyth to support such a program.