Drug treatment program credited for drop in crime in Lee County

DIXON (WIFR) -- Crime is going down in one Stateline county police say because of a program that lets addicts turn in their drugs in exchange for treatment instead of jail time.

Photo: Psychonaught

Since the Safe Passage program launched in Lee County a year and a half ago Sheriff John Simonton says he's seen a 12 percent drop in the jail population for drug crimes and crimes associated with drug use like theft and burglary. He says so far more than 140 people have been through the program which has about a 60 percent success rate.

He says now the goal is finding new ways to help those recovering addicts once they get out of treatment.

"When they come back to their respective communities they need some assistance financially, whether it be through education, whether it be through trying to find a home, trying to find gainful employment and also following up on outpatient treatment facilities," he explained.

Sheriff Simonton says they're also not seeing the number of repeat offenders for those drug related crimes, another sign he says the program is working.