Sen. Brown Announces Nearly $140K to Support Richland County Drug Court

Department of Justice Grant Given to Support Diversion Efforts for Non-Violent Drug Offenders

WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that $139,613 has been awarded to the Richland County Substance Abuse Treatment (SATC) Drug Court through a grant program that provides financial and technical assistance to states and local governments to develop a stronger and more efficient court system to thwart substance abuse. The federal funds are disbursed by the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Heroin Addiction Recovery Program (HARP).

"Drug abuse harms families, stifles productivity, and strains local budgets," Brown said. "These funds will help Richland County rehabilitate non-violent heroin abusing offenders and reduce Ohio's recidivism rates."

The grant will be used by the Richland County Drug Court to offer diversion in lieu of conviction and specialized treatment and case management services to assist a total of 156 participants to overcome heroin addiction. The program will also evaluate the impacts of this specialized, community-based treatment strategy and serve as a learning lab for other programs.

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Last month, Brown held a roundtable discussion to discuss increasing rates of prescription drug abuse and ongoing efforts to combat illegal drug diversion and fraud in southeast Ohio.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, admissions to publicly-funded treatment for heroin and other opiates - including prescription painkillers - have steadily increased the past decade from 4.4 percent of all clients in treatment in 1999 to 15.5 percent in 2009.

In 2007, unintentional drug poisoning became the leading cause of injury death in Ohio, surpassing motor vehicle crashes and suicide for the first time on record. Prescription pain medications, such as oxycodone, morphine, and methadone are largely responsible for increasing numbers of overdoses and deaths in Ohio.

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