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20 Years of Drug Courts

OPB | Dec. 15, 2011 9:06 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 10:58 p.m.

Drug courts have been around for decades, but compared to the criminal justice system overall, they’re relative new comers. There are now more than two thousand drug courts around the country. The general aim is to keep addicts from being locked up behind bars and to get them into a treatment program where they can get help for their addiction.

In Multnomah county, addicts who are eligible go through the STOP program, run by Volunteers of America. Before Judge Angel Lopez became the presiding judge for Multnomah County’s drug court, he said his focus was more about making sure drug users were held accountable for their actions. But he says after he got to know the recovering addicts in his court room, he began to appreciate their humanity and the complexity of their personal situations. He says it’s a highly successful program — participants rarely return to court, which is the general idea.

Have you been though drug court? Did this system help you get clean? How?

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