CLEVELAND (WJW) – The I-TEAM has learned that the Cuyahoga District Court gives drug-dependent test strips so that they can ensure that their drugs are safe, even if the same people promise judges that they will remain sober.
So we examined how the court can say "stay sober" and "be careful with drugs" at the same time.
Cuyahoga County judges run three drug courts with special hearings and programs designed to help people with criminal matters get clean, and in some cases their records are deleted.
However, we have found that the court offers the same people the strips to ensure that their medication is safe and not contaminated with fentanyl, which is fatal.
The I-TEAM went to Judge Joan Synenberg, who oversees one of the drug courts, to learn more about why they are giving out test strips.
"It looks like we don't put our heads in the sand. We don't tolerate drug use," said Judge Synenberg.
Judge Synenberg said their priority was to stop drug use, but some addicts in treatment would slip so the test strips could keep them from dying.
"We have to do everything to keep people alive long enough to get in touch and live with others," said the judge. "In this way, we can save lives because of the public health crisis."
In the meantime, we have found that your tax dollars are being paid for the fentanyl test strips. The county says it spends $ 45,000 over two years.
We also wondered what happens when someone who goes through a drug court is tested positive for drug use on the street. We were told that a person could go to prison, face further punishment, or have a chance to stay on the program and work towards getting clean.
The court launched the initiative late last year.
The judges will check whether it makes a difference or not and if not, they will stop it. Otherwise, they will consider expanding it.
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