Pictured: Karen Wiggens, incoming Executive Director Alcohol and Drug Services of Guernsey County; Linda Secrest, retiring Executive Director, and Chuck Fair; Byesville Rotary President.
Drug and alcohol related problems and crime have been increasing in Guernsey County. To deal with these problems, Alcohol and Drug Services of Guernsey County is partnering with Six Counties Mental Health and the Probation Department for Municipal Court.
These agencies are developing a program designed to reduce crime and other problems related to drug and alcohol abuse. Linda Secrest, retiring Executive Director of Alcohol and Drug Services of Guernsey County, and Karen Wiggens, incoming Executive Director, spoke to the Rotary about the new program.
The program will provide intensive supervised probation to individuals meeting specific qualifications. Non-violent, chemically-dependent offenders and people who have a high likelihood of becoming dependent will be given the opportunity to develop the tools and life skills they will need to live a drug and/or alcohol free life.
The program will be initiated by the judge of the Common Pleas Drug Court who will have the option of offering this program to specific types of offenders. If a person was arrested, the arrest must be for a non-violent crime. The offender must agree to go to Drug Court, wear an ankle bracelet, be randomly drug tested, and avoid bars or other places identified as dangerous.
In phase 1 of the program, the offender will be under intensive supervision every day for 30 days. They will be mentored by a Narcotics or Alcoholics Anonymous mentor, see a counselor every week, and attend weekly group counseling sessions. Anyone failing to meet these requirements will go back to jail. More significantly, they will lose an opportunity to turn around their lives.
In phase 2, supervision will be reduced. After a year, the offender’s case and the results of his or her efforts to comply with the recovery program will be evaluated. Depending on results, the offender’s sentence could be reduced and/or removed from his/her record.
The program is proactive. Drug and alcohol related problems will be identified early and steps will be taken to prevent problems from reoccurring or become more serious. Similar programs in other cities have proven to be cost effective. Secrest pointed out that, “…$3.00 are saved for every dollar invested in a drug court and $5600-$6208 is saved for every person who is not rearrested for a drug or alcohol related crime.”
The speakers for the September 23 meeting will be representatives from the Kennedy Stone House.
Connect with Byesville Rotary at: www.Byesvillerotary.blogspot.com or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Byesville-Rotary/256548047818283. The club meets 7:30 am, Tuesday at the Stop Nine Senior Center at 60313 (GPS use 60299) Southgate Road, Byesville. Call Membership Chair Jim Vaughan, 740-432-5605, to learn more about how to join.