28 November 2023- A team of Bedford County officials, departments, treatment providers, and community groups gathered today to announce their cooperation in combating drug addiction through the establishment of a Drug Treatment Court and other supporting measures.
The announcement is the culmination of a collaborative effort between the Commissioners, Court of Common Pleas, District Attorney, Public Defender, Magisterial District Judges, Probation, Correctional Facility, Personal Solutions, Inc., Hyndman Area Health Center, Center for Community Action, Horizon Behavioral Health, and local Department of Human Services office. The announced initiatives will be funded primarily from the County’s share of the opioid settlement funds distributed throughout the Commonwealth.
“Since the distribution of the opioid litigation funds, we worked together in developing a strategy to most effectively help those afflicted with the devastating effects of present or past opioid addiction,” stated Commissioner Alan Frederick. “We have initially focused on those with addiction problems that have involvement in the criminal justice system as they are both the easiest to identify and the most at risk,” stated Commissioner Barry Dallara.
President Judge Travis Livengood announced the intention to implement a Drug Treatment Court beginning in 2024. Common across the Commonwealth, Drug Treatment Courts use a proven model of intensive court supervision, constant drug testing, increased accountability, and coordinated counseling and treatment to provide non-violent criminal defendants the best opportunity to break the cycle of addiction, avoid criminal thinking, and reduce recidivism. In addition to sobriety and treatment, Drug Treatment Court participants are also required to obtain education, gain employment, complete community service, and attend group sessions.
Providing participants with the best chance for rehabilitation, Drug Treatment Courts require a high degree of dedication and coordination between the courts, probation, drug treatment providers, and community organizations. “Every member of our team has demonstrated an overwhelmingly positive response to starting a Drug Treatment Court,” stated President Judge Travis Livengood. “Confronting drug addiction requires a committed joint effort, and this is an important step in bringing the judicial system and community together in that partnership.”
As part of the opioid settlement funds, the Commissioners have committed to funding personnel in the Probation Office and Correctional Facility, purchasing drug testing equipment, providing means of transportation for participants, and assisting with staffing of treatment providers. All of these measures will support the efforts and functioning of the Drug Treatment Court.