Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains and Yonkers have been designated as “Hub” Courts, which will make drug treatment courts more accessible to those suffering from substance dependency and military veterans that may be dealing with combat-related disorders and had run-ins with law enforcement.
The Westchester County Drug Court Enhancement Project - which will be under the direction of Ninth Judicial District Administrative Judge Alan Scheinkman - is aimed to focus on the needs of those suffering from opioid use disorders and justice-involved military veterans.
Officials stated that “The Westchester County Drug Court Enhancement Project aims to enhance the delivery of clinical and other services to (those) 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.”
Additionally, the county’s new Veteran Treatment Tracks will provide support services for vets that are dealing with issues that include unemployment and homelessness. Scarpino said that the courts will utilize peer mentors and military volunteers to provide motivation as “they navigate the legal process and the challenges of re-assimilating to civilian life.”
The initiative is expected to kick off later this month.
According to Scarpino, he campaigned for office on a platform to create coordinated drug treatment courts in Westchester County.
“During my campaign for District Attorney and now under my administration, it was important to keep the promise that these courts would be created to offer non-violent offenders and military veterans’ access to intensive court-supervised treatment and tailored services that might not be available through their own town and village courts,” he said. “The goal of these drug treatment courts is to reduce incarceration and recidivism and hopefully give these individuals a path to a new life.”
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