VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney announced a new program to help get drug addicts clean and keep them out of jail.
“It is a huge problem right now,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle says.
Every day, Virginia Beach residents addicted to drugs come in and out of courtrooms. It’s an issue that has only gotten worse in the last couple years due to opioids.
“The number of people that are becoming addicted to opioids is just expanding at a rate that we’ve never seen,” Stolle adds.
The combat the issue Virginia Beach prosecutors are starting “Drug Court”.
“Do we put an addict in prison, because we have nowhere else to put them?,” Stolle asks. “Do we try to come up with some way to get them the help that they need?”
Prosecutors say some addicts can’t help, but repeating the crime. Now there is an alternative to just throwing them behind bars.
“None of them have records that are violent in any way,” Stolle says. “They are people who have drug addictions. They do not have the ability to cope with their addiction.”
Stolle plans to start the program with 10 addicts who qualify. They will be required to be in front of a judge every week, report daily with their treatment provider and take random drug tests.
“They know if that when they step in here if they are not in compliance, they are going to jail that day,” Stolle adds.
Most of the services are though volunteers and money used drug tests comes from cash seized from drug dealers.
“If we can make the difference in one from saving their life to keeping them from overdosing or having them send them to prison again, than that is success as far as I’m concerned,” Stolle says.
Several other in Hampton Roads including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News and Hampton also have drug courts.