City of Louisville launches new program aimed to combat drug epidemic

(Source: WAVE 3 News file)
(Source: WAVE 3 News file)
Updated: Aug. 22, 2018 at 7:50 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A new program launching in Louisville will try to steer those in trouble with drugs away from jail and onto a better path.

It's called the LEAD program, standing for Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion.

The community-based effort steers people suspected of committing non-violent, low-level drug-related offenses away from the criminal justice system and into treatment.

Modeled after a Seattle case management program, participants were 58 percent less likely to be arrested after being enrolled in LEAD.

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"In many cases these people mean no harm." Mayor Greg Fischer said. "They're struggling with disease. I'm proud of the way our city can talk about that as a brain disease issue. Throwing them into jails and courts that are already overcrowded and backlogged doesn't serve their needs or the city's needs."

A federal Justice Department grant will help fund the project.

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