Obstacles stall drug program

Friday, December 4, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

SPRINGBORO -- The first deadline was October.

Gloria Dillinger figured three months was time enough to establish an intensive probation program, Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime (TASC), and start working with the first set of clients, all criminal offenders with drug or alcohol addictions.

Optimistic and ambitious, she didn't anticipate the obstacles. With a $220,000 state grant, Ms. Dillinger began setting up the program. It's designed to break the cycle of repeated criminal offenses by having caseworkers meet at least once a week -- and as often as daily -- with clients. A county probation officer typically meets with a client once a month.

Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime is hosting an open house today from 1 to 5 p.m. at its new office, 345 W. Central Ave., Suite B, Springboro. Special guest is Lucille Fleming, executive director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. Information: (513) 748-8643.
Today, Ms. Dillinger is hosting an open house with Lucille Fleming, executive director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. The purpose is to educate the public and people involved in the criminal justice system about TASC.

Her new deadline is January.

The first hurdle Ms. Dillinger encountered was finding a landlord in Lebanon willing to rent a spot to the type of clients TASC would have.

As Warren County's seat and home to the criminal justice system, Lebanon was the ideal location, Ms. Dillinger said.

After being turned down for several locations, she headed north to Springboro. There, Ms. Dillinger said, she found a welcome reception. Setting up shop in Springboro led to the next obstacle: connecting to the county's computer network. Technicians are working to set up the lines, Ms. Dillinger said.

"Everybody's ready for the program to begin," she said. "The courts are chomping at the bit to get the clients started."

Now, the challenge for Ms. Dillinger is finding a male caseworker. She began advertising six weeks ago for two to three caseworkers. Resumes from women outnumbered those from men 5-to-1.

An integral component of TASC is observing the drug testing and making sure the urine originates from the right place without tampering, Ms. Dillinger said. With twice as many men as women expected to become TASC clients, Ms. Dillinger said she must have a male caseworker before she can start the program.

"Until we can get this program up and going, I can't start demonstrating what this program can do and what an impact it can make on a community," Ms. Dillinger said.

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