Blair’s funding cut for drugs, alcohol

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Blair County will receive less money from the state this year to support programs in its Drug Court and DUI Court, but that should not lessen the number of people who will receive services, according to the leader of the Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program.

Judy Rosser, the program’s executive director, appeared before the Blair County commissioners Tuesday to report that her agency will receive $310,748 to provide treatment and other services to help individuals who are repeat offenders.

The money will come to Blair County from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and will help pay for services provided from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015.

The money Blair is to receive is down from about $361,000 from the last fiscal year, but Rosser does not believe it will have an impact on the number of people that can be served.

The money is to be used to aid offenders in the Blair County Drug Court, supervised by President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva and the DUI Court, under the guidance of Judge Daniel J. Milliron.

Both programs have been in operation for many years.

The programs deal with people who have serious drug or alcohol problems which means the offenders in the DUI Court could be before the court for the second or third times for driving under the influence.

In the drug court, the offenders have often been caught dealing drugs, but their problem often stems from addiction.

The programs carry with them some prison time, but the emphasis is on helping the users get their habits under control.

The money allocated by the state pays for treatment, case management, support groups and supervision, Rosser said.

It is used to help provide Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring – ankle bracelets – for those in the DUI Court.

Those ankle bracelets detect alcohol use and are often worn for many months by a defendant in the DUI program.

Rosser said the reduction in the money for this fiscal year is partly because the amount of money used for parole and probation services had to be reduced.

She said only 20 percent of the PCCD money can be used for supervision.

Each line item in the budget received some reduction, she said, but she concluded, “We won’t limit the number we can serve.”

The money is used to aid about 65 members of the DUI Court but only about eight or 10 in the Drug Court, he said.

The money is earmarked to help level three and level four offenders, or offenders who have a high score based on their prior offenses.

The 2014-15 Intermediate Punishment Program Grant Agreement will come before commissioners next week for approval.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.