Ontario County Drug Court gets financial boost

Efforts to expand the work of the Ontario County Drug Treatment Court are set to begin next month, thanks to a federal multi-year grant awarded to the county by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The Ontario County Board of Supervisors approved acceptance of the grant during its Aug. 24 meeting.

Offices of the Ontario County Public Defender and Ontario County District Attorney collaborated to secure the grant in direct response to the opioid epidemic plaguing the county.

This U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency will fund up to $1.89 million over a five-year period in support of the county’s proposed strategy to increase case management and peer support for Drug Treatment Court participants. The grant is awarded incrementally based on results, with $367,023 earmarked for the first year.

The grant will be used in a strong way to help combat the opioid crisis, District Attorney James Ritts said in a prepared statement.

“The number of young people we are losing makes programs like this essential,” Ritts said. “It’s an important tool for fighting the opioid battle by identifying people early on in an addiction situation and getting them help.”

The financial boost will be used to increase the Drug Treatment Court’s capacity while decreasing recidivism and substance abuse relapses by court graduates. Key to this initiative will be active partnerships with longstanding local nonprofit drug treatment agencies that specialize in recovery support services. The partnerships will provide support to Drug Treatment Court staff as well as services to assist with housing, social, vocational and other wraparound service needs of court participants.

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