Washington County drug court receives training from national experts

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Washington County started its drug court back in January and has grown from just seven clients to almost two dozen.

The National Drug Court Institute has been helping drug courts succeed for over 20 years and is leading a three-day training course for Washington County workers.

"We're learning...best practice standards and the ten key components of drug court," Washington County compass drug court coordinator Aleisha Roberson said, "so it's really exciting to be able to learn firsthand from the people who developed some of these things."

"We help them hone those practices according to what the evidence sees," NDCI instructor Meghan Wheeler said, "as increasing cost savings, reducing recidivism, what's going to impact both the community and the participant."

Wheeler says drug courts are celebrating 30 years with the first one starting up in Florida back in 1989 during the crack cocaine outbreak. Today, there are over 3,000 in the United States.

"Treatment courts to date are the most successful intervention in our nation's history," Wheeler said, "to lead people living with substance use and mental health disorders out of the justice system and into the lives of recovery and stability."

And Wheeler believes through this multi-disciplinary approach, everyone plays a role in helping someone find recovery.

"It's about figuring out how in their own role, they can make changes or enhance the services they're providing the clients, the offenders, the participants," Wheeler said.

"That's what this training is really about bringing everyone's individual expertise," Roberson said, "and how do we make that cohesive for one person's journey for recovery."