The program will have three phases, with offenders reporting to court weekly during the first phase and visiting less frequently as they progress. They will be subject to random drug screenings and regular counseling sessions throughout the program.
Sgt. Ryan Lockhart of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department will serve as a law enforcement representative for the court's treatment team, and will help evaluate people's eligibility and progress in the program.
According to Lockhart, the adult drug court is a necessary addition to the county's diversion programs. He said he hopes it will help lower the number of drug-related offenses the county has seen in recent years.
"I can't think of a property crime in the last six months that couldn't be traced in some way to drugs," Lockhart said.
According to Reeder, 75 percent to 80 percent of the criminal cases his office deals with are related to drugs, and the need for ways to deal with the problem of addiction is greater than ever.
"The drug issue is becoming more and more of an epidemic," he said. "People are either committing crimes to support their habit; they're not taking care of their children because they're on drugs -- drugs are a pervasive problem in our society, and drug court will provide an alternative-sentencing option for certain offenders."
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.