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New court for drug offenders starts next week in Vilas County

EAGLE RIVER, WI (WXPR) -  A joint effort to treat repeat drug offenders rather than incarcerate them will be formally announced next week in Lac du Flambeau.

The Lac du Flambeau Tribal Court and Vilas County Court will host the opening of the tribal-state Healing-To-Wellness Court.

The goal of the new program says one of it's developers, Bob Kovar, a prevention specialist from the Marshfield Clinic Center For Community Outreach, is to help people struggling with addiction an option besides regular court and jail.

Persons eligible are non-violent offenders and is voluntary. Kovar says after the treatment program is completed in 18-24 months, the person will have sobriety, a job and have their life turned around.

Kovar says jails or prisons just put people out of sight and out of mind and don't treat the underlying addiction problem.

Planning for the new court has taken more than a year. The ceremony will be Wednesday, May 22 at noon at the Lac du Flambeau Judicial Center.