Drug treatment court to fight addiction

Federal court officials announced new help Thursday for nonviolent criminal defendants with a drug or alcohol addiction.

The Drug Treatment Court Program for the Western District of Virginia will trade incentives — including the possibility of reduced penalties for criminal activity — for a defendant’s serious effort at sobriety.

The program is open to adults who are charged with federal drug crimes or other federal offenses, who suffer from a history of substance abuse or addiction, who want sobriety, and who are willing to undergo drug testing, counseling, goal-setting, and fierce accountability, provided by frequent meetings with court officials including a judge. The steps can be completed in a year, but some people could take 18 months.