OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County District Attorney’s Office and the County of Oswego Council on Alcoholism & Addictions are proud to announce that they held the inaugural session of “Project Intervention” on October 14 and 15.
Project Intervention is an education program for first-time offenders under the age of 25 who are charged with low-level drug possession for personal use, such as unlawful possession of marihuana.
The program is modeled after the highly successful “Project U-Turn,” an education program for underage drunk drivers that has won national awards and earned praise for COCOAA and the Oswego County STOP-DWI program.
Project Intervention is a four-hour education course in which participants learn about the effects and hazards of substance use, as well as the legal consequences of drug offenses.
At the end of the course, each participant is individually screened by a Credentialed Alcoholism Substance Abuse Counselor to determine if referral to treatment is necessary.
If counselors determine that treatment is necessary, the individual is referred for appropriate care.
Completion of the recommended treatment is a requirement of the program.
According to Karyn Grow, who serves as director of prevention services at COCOAA, six participants attended the inaugural session.
The program was taught by personnel from COCOAA, as well as a district attorney investigator who is assigned to the county’s Drug Task Force.
Grow explained that they purposefully kept the class size small for the initial session, but they expect participation to grow quickly.
The District Attorney’s Office has provided information about the program to all of the local court judges throughout the county.
Grow said that she worked with the District Attorney’s Office to develop the program because both agencies had noticed a rise in unsafe drug use among 16 to 25 year olds.
“At this age, the participants are in a critical point in their lives, and we want them to gain knowledge about substance abuse so that they are able to make healthier decisions before addiction takes control,” Grow said.
Noting the program’s promise, she added, “Project Intervention is an opportunity to turn the tide for first-time offenders. I’m encouraged by our community’s stand against drug abuse, and I’m hopeful that this program will stand as a turning point for young adults in Oswego County.”
District Attorney Gregory Oakes said that he gladly welcomed the opportunity to work with COCOAA.
“It’s more effective to identify and stop drug use early on, before it develops in to full-blown addiction,” he explained.
Oakes also serves as coroner for the county.
“I’ve personally responded to fatal overdoses, so I know that addiction is both a public health issue and a matter of public safety,” he said. “This program gives us an opportunity to stop further drug use and prevent addiction, which ultimately makes the individual participants and our overall community safer. It’s a win-win.”