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    After the Meth Storm: Van Buren County court program breaks addiction cycle

    By Alex Kienlen,

    2024-04-12

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0J8WoV_0sOBPJw600

    VAN BUREN COUNTY, Ark. – A rural Arkansas county that gained unwanted notoriety for methamphetamine abuse wanted to do something to address addiction.

    Van Buren County in north central Arkansas wanted a Drug Court, a specialty program of the Arkansas Judiciary with a proven success record in breaking addiction cycles. The problem was it could not get the funding.

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    The county had been at the center of the 2017 HBO documentary “Meth Storm,” an overview of those impacted by methamphetamine abuse. Understandably, county officials did not want that reputation.

    Judge H.G. Foster explained that faced with the funding challenge, members of the court, the parole officer, the prosecutor, the public defender, drug counselors and everyone else who would be connected to the program did the next best thing and volunteered their time.

    With a $30,000 stipend from the county’s Quorum Court, the Enhanced Supervision Program, an ad-hoc drug court overseen by volunteers and contributed resources, got underway.

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    The program has been a success, and because of its volunteer base it is able to treat its clients at a much lower cost than a drug court with funded positions, a difference of $2 per day versus $12 per day.

    To participate in the ESV program, a drug offender must plead guilty, and they are sentenced to five years probation.

    For the next roughly two years they must participate in Narcotics Anonymous meetings, meet with counselors, and check in with their parole officer and with the court. They are tested for drugs and if they are not able to stay clean, they are treated as a parole violator.

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    The program has been overall successful, with a number of its clients completing a successful two-year run after which their parole is ended and their criminal record is sealed.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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