Drug Court judge sees success and failure with addiction treatment programs
Trumbull County, just north of Youngstown, Ohio, has been hit hard by the current opioid crisis. As officials grapple with the crisis, they are trying to help criminal offenders deal with their addiction rather than simply sending them to prison.
One solution is a so-called “drug court”, presided over by Judge Andrew Logan. As reported by The Vindicator, drug court is for someone with a pending felony criminal case and a drug addiction. It allows addicts to work on their drug problem through weekly meetings with the judge and drug-treatment professionals with a promise that their criminal charge will be dismissed after about a year if their performance in the program is satisfactory.
When they are successful, they graduate.
However, earlier this month, two people with criminal cases on Judge Logan’s docket died the same week.
His weekly talks with addicts has shown him that addiction to the current drugs of choice – heroin and fentanyl – is worse than in previous years when it was mostly heroin.
“Compared to a few years ago, it’s worse. It’s real bad where we are at right now,” he said.
“These things are happening on a regular basis,” he said of overdose deaths among people on his docket. “It’s not that we’re numb to them, but it’s constant.”
Judge Logan says the drugs being used may have changed and become more dangerous in recent years, resulting in a rising death toll in Trumbull County, but the mistakes addicts make are similar.
“In drug court, I ask how did you get involved in this – and it’s people, places or things,” he said.
Drug-treatment professionals tell addicts that one of the most dangerous things they can do is connect with people, places and things associated with their drug use.
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To learn more about how Judge Andrew Logan is trying to guide addicts in Ohio, please visit The Vindicator.com.