Friday, June 30, 2000

Drug program to aid offenders


Hamilton Co. TASC aims to treat substance abuse, curb repeat crimes

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        More than three of every four people who are on probation have a substance abuse problem.

        That rate is what's behind the state's creation of a program in Hamilton County that has been successful in reducing repeat DUIs and other crimes in other Ohio counties.

        “There's always going to be a demand,” said Kathleen Strouse, director of the Hamilton County agency and former director of Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime (TASC), a state-funded program in Clermont County.

        In 1992, Clermont was the first Ohio county in the Tristate to start a TASC program.

        In individual counties, TASC staff perform drug and alcohol assessments of non-violent offenders for the courts, make referrals for treatment, offer case management that makes sure offenders get into treatment, and attend sessions and follow up with drug testing.

        The Hamilton County TASC, which today is moving into office space at 911 Sycamore St., across from the courthouse, expects to work with more than 1,000 clients, Ms. Strouse said. The program will have 10 employees.

        The $529,878 grant to create TASC was one of $16 million in contracts given to 13 local agencies to provide substance abuse treatment and services. The grants were presented by the Hamilton County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ADAS) Board.

        Butler and Warren counties also operate TASC programs on $291,000 and $220,000 grants from the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.

        A statewide study found that DUI offenders in a TASC program had a 33 percent lower re-arrest rate than others in a control group that received treatment but not TASC case-management.

       



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