Helping addicts purpose of new court programs

Published 12:49 am Sunday, February 28, 2016

Reaching out to those caught in the anguish of addictions is the focus of two new programs started by Ironton Municipal Court.

Both were started at the first of this year. First is the SCRAM program, whereby those who have been arrested for DUIs will wear an ankle bracelet as they are on house arrest that will monitor if the wearer has consumed any alcohol.

“The skin secretes ethanol,” Robert Van Keuren, city court probation chief, said. “As the body absorbs alcohol, ethanol is excreted through the skin. We get a reading of the blood alcohol.”

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The monitor is so sensitive it can distinguish between an alcoholic beverage consumed and hand sanitizer that might have been splashed on the monitor, Van Keuren said.

If a driver is arrested and is found to be at .08 to .17 over the legal limit, he or she can be chosen for the SCRAM program whereby they will wear the bracelet for 30 days. That is if it is a first offense. The three days in jail that could be meted out has the option to be suspended for taking three days in driving school. Thirty days in jail will be suspended as long as the driver remains on the SCRAM program.

If the first offense is above .17, the guidelines are six days in jail with the option of three days suspended in lieu of school with 60 days on SCRAM. If the individual fails the program, it will be 30 days in jail.

As the offenses increase so do the number off SCRAM days required as well as possible jail time.

“This is a good way to wean them off alcohol,” Ironton Municipal Judge O. Clark Collins Jr., said. “It has been pretty successful so far.”

Cost is $11 a day and there are funds that those who can not afford it can have access to.

The other program is geared for those who are opiate addicted and uses the drug, Vivitrol. This drug, which must be administered in an injection by a licensed physician, inhibits the effects of heroin and opiates. On top of receiving the drug the participant in this program must undergo counseling. The drug is given monthly and costs $1,500. However cost can be reduced depending on a sliding scale of the participant’s income.

Right now there are three individuals in this program.