Mercer County unveils substance abuse treatment court - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mercer County unveils substance abuse treatment court

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HERMITAGE, Pa. -

Following in the footsteps of Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties in Ohio, Mercer County, Pennsylvania has created a court specializing in substance abuse treatment.

More information is expected to be revealed on Friday about the newly-created Mercer County Treatment Court. That's when the Buhl Regional Health Foundation will host their 3rd Annual Fall Forum, this year the focus will be on the opioid crisis.

The Treatment Court will work with partners to give offenders who are charged with certain crimes an alternative to jail, placing them instead into rehabilitative programs.

The Treatment Court, operating as part of the existing Common Pleas Court system is organized in the same fashion as its Veterans Court and other substance abuse treatment courts throughout Pennsylvania.

Mercer County judges, with the support of county commissioners and many allied agencies, such as the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, began in January exploring the possibility of establishing a treatment court focused primarily on substance use disorders, recognizing, however, the presence of co-occurring disorders.

After receiving a grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency in July, the county began establishing protocols and hired two case managers, known as coordinators.

A Steering Committee/Advisory Board is responsible for establishing the Treatment Court's policies and practices and a subordinate Treatment Team composed of professionals in the fields of criminal justice and rehabilitation is responsible for establishing the treatment regimen.

The Treatment Court's program consists of four intensive phases lasting one year, followed by an aftercare fifth phase lasting a minimum of three months.

Mercer County's Treatment Court program becomes Pennsylvania's 33rd problem-solving court specializing in substance abuse disorders.

Being a major crossroads in western Pennsylvania where three interstate highways intersect, Mercer County has become a center for illicit drug trafficking.

It has been estimated that 75-80% of the crimes committed in Mercer County are either directly or indirectly related to drug and alcohol abuse.

The Buhl Health Foundation forum, Working Together to Battle Addiction, will be held Friday, November 2nd from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Hope Center for Arts and Technology, Inc., 115 Anson Way, Sharon.

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