Drug Court
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Officials are working to help those struggling with drug addiction in Centre Co. It costs about $35,000 a year to house one person in a Centre County jail. The new drug court program will allow addicts to stay out of jail and work on their recovery. Thursday, officials started screening potential cases. "They're going to have drug tests at least 3 times a week." Specialty Court Coordinator Julie Seroski says the county's new drug court will allow 25 substance abuse addicts to work on their recovery. "They're going to start with in home detention The program is going to be 18 months and during that time they're going to be meeting with a judge every other week." They will also be required to go to counseling and meet regularly with their case and probation managers. Officials say the model is similar to DUI court, except it's not for first time offenders. "What's different about drug court is the nature of the clients and the individuals coming through. These are probably the highest risk individuals we have in our court systems. It means they've exhausted the common treatment modalities that are out there." Cathy Arbogast with Centre County Drug and Alcohol says each case will have it's own set of challenges. "It becomes more and more important as we look at the work the governor has pushed through, the activities we're doing locally to provide every possible option. Because of every person that experiences addiction, their path to recovery is going to be very different and weve got to make those options available if we're going to be successful." Seroski says a key element of the program is meeting with the judge to talk about their progress. "That is the biggest incentive found with these treatment programs is having the praise of the judge and her approval. A lot of these people don't have support in their lives and the approval of the judge is a huge part of the program." This will be funded by a $400,000 grant for the next three years and county commissioners plan to track the program and it's impact.