HUNTINGTON -– A ceremony celebrating the opening of an adult drug court in Cabell County was held Aug. 13.

Circuit Judge Dan O'Hanlon is the supervising judge of the adult drug court.

The Cabell County Drug Court is the sixth to open this year to serve adults in West Virginia, bringing the total to nine regional drug court programs serving twenty-five counties, or half the state. West Virginia also has juvenile drug courts serving youths in Cabell, Wayne and Logan Counties.

Adult drug courts in West Virginia may serve those who have been charged with non-violent misdemeanor or felony offenses, pled guilty or been found guilty of non-violent misdemeanors and felonies and who were motivated to commit those crimes due to substance abuse or addiction, or are probation violators due to substance abuse or addiction.

Most West Virginia drug courts are operating as post-plea and probation violation drug courts.

People can volunteer for the programs to reduce or avoid jail and prison sentences, if a judge so orders. Prosecutors must approve referrals made to the drug courts, and all participants must be evaluated as a low to moderate risk to be released back into the community. People registered as sex offenders are not eligible for these programs. Participants undergo substance abuse treatment and are heavily supervised by probation officers, law enforcement, and the drug court.

If needed, they may also undergo treatment for mental illnesses. Participants may be forced to repeat certain phases of the program if they have positive drug screens or if they fail to cooperate. The judge may impose jail time if he or she feels it is therapeutically necessary to make a participant follow the protocol and be successful in drug court.

The new adult drug Cabell County is funded by state forfeiture funds.

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