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New court part to address opioid crisis.

Byline: lisagranite

Court officials on Monday announced the launch of a new specialized part of the Rochester Treatment Courts for defendants who are at high risk of opioid overdose.

Seventh Judicial District Administrative Judge Craig J. Doran and John L. DeMarco, supervising judge of the Rochester Treatment Courts, announced the initiative to fight the state's ongoing opioid crisis.

The Opioid Stabilization Part (OSP) will provide immediate intervention, treatment and supervision to high-risk defendants with severe opioid use disorders.

Cases considered appropriate for the OSP will be flagged for screening upon the consent of the defendant's attorney. Defendants who opt to undergo screening and are found to be at high risk will have the case proceed in the OSP, with the District Attorney suspending prosecution of the case during the stabilization process.

Once clinically determined to be stabilized and no longer at risk of overdose, the defendant may be referred to drug treatment court for longer-term treatment, judicial diversion or other adjudication.

The OSP is a collaboration of the state court system, the Monroe County District Attorney's Office, the Public Defender's Office and Sheriff's Office.

The new court part is supported in part by a $1.8 million federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The Buffalo Opioid Treatment Intervention Court, which launched in the spring of 2017, was the first of these pioneering court parts in the nation. There are several other opioid intervention courts now operating in New York and more in the planning stages.

"This innovative court model strives to more effectively respond to the special needs of high-risk offenders suffering from opioid use disorders, helping avert overdoses and bringing greater safety and stability to our communities," Doran said in a news release.

"I am thankful to our justice system partners in Monroe County and beyond for bringing the OSP to fruition and look forward to the launch of more such court parts throughout the Seventh Judicial District and New York State as we continue our fight against this devastating epidemic," he said.

"Quite simply, this court is being established to save human lives. As the opioid crisis has taken a major toll on our community, this specialized part will provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to provide access to those defendants at highest risk of overdose, with immediate access to substance abuse treatment and other needs," DeMarco said in the news release.

"For people battling an opioid addiction, the hours immediately following an arrest can make the difference between life and death. The OSP will provide vital help during that critical window of time so users can get medically stabilized, begin treatment and stay alive," said Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley.

"We look forward to working with the OSP to provide treatment and prevention services to individuals struggling with drug addiction who break the law," she said.

"Today's announcement of the OSP represents another step forward for Monroe County's Opioid Action Plan that will benefit residents and families struggling with opioid use disorder. With a $1.8 million grant secured by Monroe County, this new initiative will help prevent overdoses and give residents the opportunity to live fulfilling, productive lives in long-term recovery," Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said in the release.

The OSP will begin operation next week. Rochester City Court Judge Caroline Morrison will preside over the new part.

BLoudon@BridgeTowerMedia.com (585) 232-2035

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Publication:Daily Record (Rochester, NY)
Date:Nov 26, 2018
Words:572
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