MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — Berkeley County is West Virginia’s fastest growing county. With that title comes the responsibility of getting a grip on a growing drug abuse problem that also affects the crime rate.
The opioid crisis remains a challenge in the eastern panhandle, but Berkeley County may well have an innovative solution. Berkeley County’s community corrections director told the county council this week that it can better address the growing drug problem by adding medicaid-reimbursed outpatient services to the day report center, where those on parole or probation must check in with authorities.
“It’s the next logical step for us to take to become financially sustainable over the long haul,” said Community Corrections Director Tim Czaja.
Eryn Mills works with Czaja and says the proposal before council is about as perfect a solution as there is.
Mills said, “It’s about working together and trying to meet the needs of the majority population that’s really struggling with addiction.”
Mills feels strongly this approach will genuinely help those who pass through the system become contributing members of society.
“We want to help people not only continue their lives,” said Mills, “but thrive and fine their purpose and be able to be a productive member of society.”
Getting council approval for the plan will have an enormous payoff for the county, Mills says.
According to Mill, “the best thing about this whole process is just really finally recognizing that this is a crisis in our community that I would venture to say has affected all of us.”
The council may put some parts of this plan into motion as early as next month. Mills says the proposed treatment services would merely be an extension of those available at any behaviorial treatment facility not associated with the criminal justice system.