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New drug treatment program offers alternative

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — There is a new program being offered in Broome County that can help people avoid drug related charges, and instead, seek treatment.

Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell introduced the Treatment Alternative to Prosecution, or TAP program, on Tuesday.

TAP is offered to individuals facing misdemeanor drug-related crimes, often connected to a drug addiction.

Rather than serving time, participants can opt to go into 90 days of supervised treatment, spearheaded by the Addiction Center of Broome County.

After they complete three months of treatment, individuals must go six months arrest-free.

Once this nine month process is complete, their case is dismissed and sealed.

Law enforcement will be able to utilize this program as early as the time of arrest.

Cornwell spoke about the program.

"Before people are even charged, we’ve said hey, how about this, how about you go to treatment and you don’t get charged and if they agree, then they begin treatment," said Cornwell.

A pilot version of this program is already underway.

Starting in April, 62 people opted for treatment and as of now, 46 are still in the program.

This program is not offered to all drug-related offenses, however, crimes that qualify for this program do not include sex, violent or victim crimes.

Cases eligible for the program are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The first group of TAP participants are scheduled to graduate next month.

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