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A step in the right direction

After years of effort, Lawrence County is finally getting a drug court.

By the end of March, Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Andy Ballard should begin his drug court in an effort to get low-level, non-violent offenders treatment instead of jail.

The goal is to break the cycle of addiction and have them becoming productive, law-abiding citizens.

Ironton Municipal Court Judge Kevin Waldo got a grant to start the process of his court also becoming a certified drug court, and Ballard said that everything he has available would be able to be utilized by Waldo as well.

Ballard said that it has taken more than a year of work with a significant input from the prosecutor’s office, STAR Community Justice Center, his staff and other members of the community.

“This is truly a team effort that took a ton of work, but it’s a victory for all of us, as well as everyone in the community,” Ballard said.

If the drug court is effective in getting some people off drugs, that is less work and stress for the police who have to deal with drug-related crimes and for the EMS crews that have to revive addicts when they overdose.

It is going to take a lot of work on all levels to end drug abuse.

This is a step in the right direction in the region’s outgoing battle against the seemingly never ending tide of drug addiction and the effects it has on the addicted, their families, and the whole region.