Program offers forgiveness to minor drug offenders

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THE BRONX -

A specialized court has been designed to give Bronx residents with minor drug offense a second chance.

The Overdose Avoidance and Recovery Program is the city's first-ever drug court. The program hopes to offer treatment to drug offenders instead of time in jail.

Supervising Judge George Grasso presides over the proceedings, which are held twice a week.

The treatment initiative was started by Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark to address the borough's spike in drug-related deaths and offenses that often ended up clogging the court system.

To date, 1,500 minor drug cases have been screened, with 200 not being considered for the program.

So far the DA's office says 40 people have successfully completed the six-week program. Those who finish the program have their drug offense sealed and dismissed.

Judge Grasso is in the process of expanding the program in all five boroughs. 

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