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Louisiana parish offers alternative to those facing drug charges

No one sets out to lose his or her life to addiction. Many Louisiana residents who suffer from addiction end up facing drug charges. Whether those individuals should end up in jail or prison has become a debate among many. In fact, at least one parish instituted a program about 15 years ago to help those who qualify to beat their addictions to drugs and is considered one of the best in the state.

The Drug Court diverts those facing drug charges who are non-violent away from the traditional court system. The participants receive drug treatment as part of the first phase of the four-phase program. During this phase, each participant also finds employment if not already employed. The second phase includes medical and psychological therapy while the participants put their lessons from the first phase into practice.

In the third phase, the participants undergo breath and urine tests and regularly report to the court. They also participate in aftercare such as group therapy to reinforce their freedom from drugs. The program also imposes a curfew.

Any violation of the Terrebone Parish program's rules results in additional hours of community service or a weekend in jail. The fourth phase is graduation. This particular program boasts a success rate of approximately 75 percent when it comes to drug-related crimes. At the judge's discretion, the charges that led to participation in the program could be expunged. 

Not everyone facing drug charges goes through the traditional court system. One could receive the opportunity to change his or her life by participating in Drug Court. If a Louisiana resident is addicted to drugs and faces non-violent criminal charges related to his or her addiction, this could be an option to pursue. A criminal defense attorney should be able to discuss this option and provide information regarding the details and qualifications.

Source: houmatoday.com, "Graduates find redemption at Drug Court", Dan Copp, April 7, 2017

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