Stivers pushes for expansion of drug court pilot program

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) requested on Wednesday that Attorney General Eric Holder meet with Ohio’s congressional delegation to discuss the possibility of expanding Ohio’s drug court pilot program nationwide.

“The nation is under siege from an opiate addiction epidemic,” Stivers said. “It is rampant in Ohio, where drug overdoses are at an all-time high. We must work together to find creative solutions to combat this crisis. Ohio’s pilot program accomplishes this by allowing for better coordination between all parties in the criminal justice system.”

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services implemented a drug court pilot program in five counties. The program requires collaboration among drug courts, treatment providers and drug prescribers to promote abstinence from opiates to reduce the number of re-offenders.

Stivers and Ohio’s delegation urged the Department of Justice to replicate the work being done in Ohio and create a multi-state program. The effort would use abstinence-based addiction medications to support the successful reentry of opiate- and alcohol-addicted offenders in jails, federal prisons and treatment centers.

Taking an evidence-based approach to the issue, the delegation said, would be an effective tool for confronting and reducing the opiate epidemic and helping prevent future crimes and costly re-incarceration.