Program offers treatment instead of jail for misdemeanor drug charges

Posted: Updated:
BROOKLYN -

A new program in Brooklyn aims to get help instead of jail time for people with misdemeanor drug charges.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez says it's time to think outside the box when it comes to the opioid crisis.

"The traditional criminal justice approach to opioid misuse and this opioid crisis is not working," he says.

A new approach to combating the epidemic is called Project Clear. Under it, people arrested for misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance will be offered treatment before their first court date. If a person participates in the program, Gonzalez says his office will not prosecute their case before they appear in court. Their arrest record would also be sealed.

Project Clear is currently in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Crown Heights and Sunset Park.

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