Federal, county and city court officials are looking hard at Buffalo, N.Y.’s new opioid crisis intervention court as one potential model solution to the epidemic of heroin and opioid overdoses that continue to devastate families and communities across America, taxing local governments, first responders and the nation’s criminal justice system.
“Right now we’re trying to save them. I’m trying to save their life,” says Judge Hannah, who presides over this first-in-the-nation experiment that aims to fast-track addicts into wraparound treatment before adjudicating their criminal cases. “I want them to have another sunset, another time with their family, to see another Christmas.”
The necessity for a special opiate court underscores the crippling severity of the nation’s drug overdose and addiction crisis, which killed some 64,000 Americans from February 2016 to February 2017, according to preliminary data from the CDC.
After a 30-day inpatient detox, participants enter 30 days of outpatient treatment. The opiate court was created in May of this year with the help of a $300,000 grant from the Justice Department. It’s too soon to draw big conclusions. So far the numbers show that Buffalo may be on to something: Of the roughly 140 participants, only four have washed out of the program.
Read the entire article at: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/10/05/553830794/to-save-opioid-addicts-this-experimental-court-is-ditching-the-delays
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