LEAD Program takes the pressure off court and jail systems

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FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WVNS)– Fayette County Deputy Chief Public Defender Scott Stanton’s job has changed tremendously over the last 15 years.

“Nearly everything I do now revolves around drugs,” Stanton said. “That wasn’t the case when I started this job 36 years ago.”

He said in the late 2000s and early 2010’s, drug cases swamped the court and jail systems so much that they are still playing catch up, costing the county and taxpayers money.  He added they have found that addiction is often the root cause for other criminal activity and that addicts’ outside crimes are often minor. So, treating the root cause of the problem, the addiction, in an individualized manner, betters multiple aspects of the community.

“The LEAD program is able to get these individuals to get the treatment that’s best for them,” Stanton added.  “Then that allows me to get them out of the jail and off the taxpayers’ dime.”

But there’s still work to be done. Now the program faces another issue, finding the room for treatment in the proper rehabs and treatment facilities, of which there are very few options in the mountain state. 

“There’s just not enough of them for my office alone and I’m one of 55 counties,” Stanton said. “This is a medium-size office with a medium-size client base, I can’t get all my clients that need it. So then, put yourself in a place like Kanawha County or Cabell County where they have thousands of people.”

The program has helped over 240 people seek treatment this year alone.

If you or someone you know is an addict and needs help you can contact the LEAD office and they will point you in the right direction, no questions asked.  You can find that information here.

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