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Manchin, Capito announce funding to expand drug court services in Huntington

The Women’s Empowerment and Addiction Recovery (WEAR) Program will address the needs of women in the sex trade who are battling drug addiction and mental health issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) today announced $141,237 for the City of Huntington’s Women’s Empowerment and Addiction Recovery (WEAR) Program, a specialized program within the current drug court that will address the needs of women in the sex trade who are battling drug addiction and mental health issues.

In addition to undergoing the standard drug court model, participants will receive mental and physical health care counseling and therapy. Understanding the victimization and healthcare needs of women in the sex trade, this program will shift the response from a criminal justice approach to a social service approach that focuses on treatment rather than punishment and state prison sentences.

“The number of sex-trafficking victims who are dealing with drug abuse and addiction and who are being exploited and forced into modern-day slavery continues to grow day after day,” Senator Manchin said.“We should be doing everything we can to help these victims move forward on a drug-free path with opportunities for a better future. Mayor Steve Williams and the City of Huntington are really working hard to stomp out drug abuse, and I am incredibly pleased that they have been granted this funding to provide critical healthcare needs and strengthen services for women who are struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders in addition to exploitation.”

“The fight against West Virginia’s drug epidemic is multifaceted. I have been working diligently to find solutions not just on the supply side of the drug problem, but on the treatment side as well. In order to get at the root of the problem we must have more recovery and treatment services, and incarceration isn’t always the right answer,” said Senator Capito. “I am glad that this funding will enable the City of Huntington to launch the Women’s Empowerment Addiction Recovery Program, the first program of its kind in West Virginia to address the needs of women who are struggling with both drug addiction and prostitution. By diverting these women to mental and physical health treatment programs instead of the criminal justice system, this program can help return them to healthy and productive members of society, and make an impact in the broader battle against West Virginia’s drug crisis.”

Cabell County Drug Court’s current capacity is 40 participants per year. With this funding, an additional full-time adult drug court probation officer will allow the drug court to provide services for 20 participants in the WEAR Program per year. Over the three year project period, Cabell County Adult Drug Court will provide specialized services to up to 60 individuals.

The funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Center
for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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