New program to offer drug offenders treatment option instead of punishment

BOSTON (WHDH) - Officials announced on Thursday a new pilot program aimed at combating drug addiction in the Bay State by offering treatment to low-level users instead of jailing them. Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said believes the program is the first of its kind in the United States.

“Road to Recovery” will focus on non-violent drug users, who Conley described as more of a danger to themselves than others. Starting on Jan. 2, anyone who is stopped for simple drug possession will be offered a drug treatment option instead of being called to court on criminal charges.

“The participant can then focus on getting clean and staying sober, instead of fighting the case, facing the consequences and paying fines and fees,” Conley said.

All charges will be dropped against anyone who completes the program.

Conley said repeat offenders will be offered the same options as first-time offenders.

The program will only be offered for cases out of Dorchester District Court. If the program is successful, Conley said it will be expanded to all courts in Suffolk County.

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