PRESS RELEASE: Westchester County Drug Courts Receive Grant to Help Combat Opioid Crisis, Expand Ser

White Plains, New York – Supported by a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the New York State court system’s Ninth Judicial District, which encompasses Westchester County, is launching a new drug court initiative in the County to focus on the unique needs of two populations: individuals with opioid use disorder and justice-involved military veterans. The Westchester County Drug Enhancement Project aims to enhance the delivery of clinical and other services to these target populations, including the provision of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), where appropriate, to Westchester County Drug Treatment Court participants. The use of MAT in addition to traditional forms of treatment such as behavioral counseling can be vital in ensuring better outcomes for individuals with an opioid addiction, who now make up over 50 percent of those enrolled in the County’s drug treatment courts. The SAMSHA grant, totaling $971,736 over a three-year period, will also support personnel, training and other needs related to the development of a peer mentor initiative to help military veterans enrolled in the County’s drug treatment court programs re-adjust to civilian life and get back on track, as well as efforts to increase participation rates in court-mandated treatment programs among justice-involved veterans. Additionally, the grant will fund an evaluation study of the County’s treatment/veterans court programs, which offer non-violent offenders with substance use and co-occurring disorders – including military service-related disorders which can lead to substance and alcohol abuse – access to intensive court-supervised treatment and tailored services to reduce incarceration and recidivism. Hon. Alan D. Scheinkman, Administrative Judge for the Ninth District, said, “This grant will enable the Westchester courts to expand their efforts in linking justice-involved individuals with a substance use disorder, including veterans, to critical services, affording these offenders a chance to break the cycle of abuse and lead productive lives.” Westchester County’s first drug court opened in 2001. The Westchester County Drug Enhancement Project, under Judge Scheinkman’s direction, will coordinate the efforts of Westchester County drug court programs currently operating in Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains and Yonkers. The initiative will kick off in early October, upon disbursement of the SAMSHA funds to the District.

Contact: Unified Court System Lucian Chalfen, Public Information Director Arlene Hackel, Deputy Director (212) 428-2500

Ninth Judicial District Liaison: Dr. Betty Campbell (914) 824-5127

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