From Coal To Diamonds At The Old Courthouse
In East Tennessee's Roane County, The Legal And Personal Costs Of The Opioid Epidemic Collide At The County's Historic Courthouse
"Roane County is such a beautiful part of the country, with lush mountains and beautiful rivers. But we do have a terrible problem here, and it's opiate addiction."
Charlene Hipsher, assistant to the local prosecutor, helped launch a special "recovery court" with the goal of getting drug addicts into treatment instead of jail.
Hipsher says recovery court is "intensive supervision and treatment" that provides addicts an alternative to a jail cell and the opportunity to overcome their addiction.
Her colleague Dennis Humphrey, general sessions court judge and recovery court judge, says they've found that, "more jail, more jail, more jail," is not effective in helping serious addicts who commit crimes.
"It does not remedy the problem," he says, "but something in the nature of a drug court does get to the heart of their problem, try to remedy that, try to work with them, to show them that we do care about what's happening."
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This piece was produced as part of a special series for NPR's All Things Considered by Matt Shafer Powell and Jess Mador of TruckBeat – part of Localore: Finding America, a national production of AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio. Find more stories at NPR and at Finding America.