TIFFIN, OH (WTOL) - Seneca County is in the early stages of implementing a program to try to get ahead in the fight against the opioid crisis.
For the last two years, the judges of the Seneca County Municipal and Common Pleas Courts worked with county and state officials to create a special drug court.
The court would allow all county judges to have jurisdiction over specified drug-related cases, even if that judge usually does not have jurisdiction over a misdemeanor or felony case.
County officials say this will help the courts become more efficient and gives more consistent focus tracking of suspects accused of drug crimes. The proposal has been approved by the State House of Representatives, and now waits for State Senate approval.
The hope is with a more focused approach, judges can help weed out the true problematic criminals from the people who are actually in need of help in getting past an addiction.
"We really don't consider these to be the true criminals, people are doing this as a means," Judge Mark Repp said. "And what we're going to try to do is get them appropriate help at the local level before anything gets ramped up into something bigger than it has to be. "
Judge Repp says if the State Senate passes the bill in January, that after some extra training for court staff and the judges, that the joint district Seneca County Drug Court could begin it's docket by early Spring.