New Drug Treatment Court To Serve High Risk Opioid Users

Bronx Community Solutions' Project Director, Maria Almonte-Weston, speaks at the 
OAR press conference alongside Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and 
Chief Administrative Judge, Hon. Judge George Grasso
January 28th - BCS is proud to announce the launch of an innovative treatment court that will work with misdemeanor drug offenders, specifically opioid users who are at high risk of overdose. The Overdose and Avoidance Recovery program (OAR) will offer intensive drug treatment to participants instead of jail time, and will offer support services such as employment readiness and supportive housing. Participation in OAR is voluntary, and eligible offenders who complete the program will have their case dismissed and sealed.

OAR "is an innovative tool for confronting a scourge that has ravaged the Bronx far too long and ruined hundreds of lives," Bronx District  Attorney Darcel Clark said. "Last year, our borough had the second highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the state. My office has a duty to stem this health crisis by addressing defendants who cycle through the criminal justice system because of crimes fueled by drug abuse."

The Bronx has seen the highest increase in opioid related deaths over the past few years than all other NYC boroughs. In 2017 alone, more than 300 Bronx residents died of drug overdoses, double the number in 2010.

“It's not the normal sense of crime and punishment. Our track is about compassion and recovery,” Judge George Grasso, Administrative Judge for the Bronx Criminal Court said. “Now we are in full crisis mode...It's not about slapping wrists. It's about saving lives.”