Will New Grants Help Expand Treatment For Massachusetts Drug Courts?

By John Lavitt 11/02/15

SAMHSA hopes the nearly $1 million grant will reduce repeat offenders.

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded a three-year $925,000 grant to expand substance abuse treatment capacity in both the Adult and the Family Treatment Drug Courts in Massachusetts.

In partnership with Stanley Street Treatment and Resources, Inc., the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office will administer the grant to help increase the capacity of their ability to treat substance abuse. Given the flood of new cases due to the opioid epidemic, it is believed the grant will allow the drug courts to handle the increase in capacity.

The state drug courts were created to reduce the rate of substance abuse among offenders. The hope is to lower the rate of repeat offenses. Since, “many lack sufficient funding for substance abuse treatment,” according to SAMHSA, the grant will help to address this problem. The program’s long-term goal is “to build sustainable systems of care for individuals needing treatment drug court services ... (and) expand or enhance substance abuse treatment services in existing adult and family ‘problem solving’ courts.”

Officials from SAMHSA and SSTAR, along with U.S. Reps. Joseph P. Kennedy III and Bill Keating, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn, and Fall River District Court Judge Christopher Welch are all announcing the grant on October 15 in SSTAR’s conference room. SAMHSA noted that the treatment drug court model reflects the coordinated efforts of the court system, law enforcement and mental health, and treatment providers.

During the announcement, Kathryn Power, SAMHSA’s Regional Administrator for New England, said, “I can’t think of an organization that is better poised to help people in their recovery than SSTAR, because we know that recovery is a process of change, in which individuals improve their health and well-being, can live a self-directed life, can strive to reach full potential.”

Keating, who represents Massachusetts’ 9th district, focused on the success of drug courts across the country. With graduates from drug court programs across the country, Keating highlighted how, “the recidivism rate is so low.” Reducing recidivism is the key, he said because it “helps everyone in the community.”

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.