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Drug court: From idea to reality

Posted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 2:20 pm

The opioid crisis has been an insidious problem for a while now, and Westmoreland County has felt the sting. In October of last year, Commonwealth Attorney Julia Sichol spoke about the formation of a drug treatment court program she was trying to initiate. It started with a simple proposal: a five-phase court program intended to help addicts kick their drug habits.

At the Board of Supervisors meeting, it was finally evident what fruit the Northern Neck and Essex Drug Court Program had produced. Sichol appeared before the board, not to, “ask you for more money, but to thank you for having faith in our program.”

According to Sichol, the drug court is the result of 20 months of planning, having finally started in February. Federal funding, as well as support from the counties along the Northern Neck and Essex County, allowed this to become another one of the roughly 3,316 treatment courts currently running. The idea of the drug court is to provide an alternative to incarceration by way of an individualized substance abuse treatment plan, with frequent supervisory contact.

The idea is to break the cycle of addiction that can trap people, helping them return to and maintain sobriety and become productive members of society once again.

For the full article, pick up the latest Westmoreland News 5/29/19