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County Awarded $500,000 to Implement Adult Treatment Court
Human Services Department continues efforts to treat substance abuse disorders

When the Washington County Board convenes on October 9, it will vote to accept a $500,000 federal grant to implement the county's first official drug treatment court. The county has been funding Treatment and Diversion programs with state support for over a decade. The drug court will expand a long standing county partnership with Elevate Inc.

The four-year grant will effectively integrate evidence-based substance abuse treatment, mandatory drug testing, sanctions and incentives, and transitional services in a judicially supervised court setting. A pilot court is expected to begin in January.

"We are thrilled to have an additional avenue to allow individuals to overcome and manage their disease symptoms and address their mental health needs," said Human Services Director Julie Driscoll. "When individuals are incarcerated, treatment is not adequate and the ability for the individual to find a stable and safe place to live, conduct meaningful life activities - such as employment, school, and volunteerism - while having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love and hope is nearly impossible following incarceration."

To qualify for drug treatment court, individuals are charged with a felony drug offense, have an identified substance use disorder, and exhibit a high risk to act criminally again. It is estimated that 65 to 75 clients would be served over the life of the grant, approximately 16 to 18 clients annually.

The work toward a treatment court requires strong partnerships. The Washington County Circuit Court Judges, District Attorney's Office, Human Services Department, Sheriff's Office, the Department of Corrections, Public Defenders Office and Elevate Inc. worked collaboratively to help make a drug court in Washington County possible. Washington County joins the ranks of nearly 50 other counties operating a similar drug court program.

"We commend Judge Todd Martens for his judicial support, leadership and political advocacy around this project as it is critical to the success of this initiative," added County Administrator Joshua Schoemann. "The project is a direct result of his commitment; in addition, the Washington County Board has been steadfast in their support of priorities which ensure safe and secure communities and access to basic needs."

The drug court is a culmination of added grants and services to Washington County Human Service Department's toolbox in 2019. The department received grants to begin medication assisted treatment or Vivitrol in the county jail and provide increased substance abuse treatment for uninsured residents.

The Washington County Human Services Department is an active partner and leader in the community for substance use care and treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use and ready to take that first step towards recovery, please call us at 262-335-4600.