XENIA — As drug abuse rates continue to rise across the state of Ohio, one program in Greene County is attempting to stem the growing trend of addiction and crime.
Established in 2002, Greene Leaf is a therapeutic community for male and female drug abuse offenders sentenced through Greene County Common Pleas Court, Xenia Municipal Court or Fairborn Municipal Court. The male and female programs are housed in the Greene County Adult Detention Center and the Greene County Jail, respectively, and typically those in the program spend about six months going through a variety of treatment options.
While in the program, offenders can receive individual and group treatment, go through modules that address the root problems of their addiction, participate in job readiness training for when they are released and move towards getting a GED, all while learning more about themselves along the way.
“The primary focus is changing their addictive behaviors and changing the behaviors that have led them to this,” program director Melissa Litteral said. “… You have all of these different issues that a lot of our folks have masked, which has led to their addictions. You have to take a good hard look at what’s going on with that individual. This program gives everyone that opportunity … to try to change that behavior.”
The program has a capacity for up to 52 individuals at a time (32 males, 20 females), but according to Litteral, the program enrollment typically stays at around 20 males and 15 females. Those in Greene Leaf are there voluntarily and are typically recommended for the program by the Greene County Adult Probation Department after screening and assessment.
According to Litteral, Greene Leaf costs about $275,000 a year and runs off grants, funding and resources from several entities, including the county’s two municipal courts; the probation department; the Greene County Sheriff’s Office; the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties; the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services; and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
After all the modules, homework, roleplaying, counseling and treatment are done, the goal is change, one that lasts longer than the check-ins – for new arrests and positive drug tests – that the probation department does at six months and one year after graduation.
While completing the program isn’t a surefire guarantee of success – according to Litteral, Greene Leaf averages about a 70 percent success rate with its graduates – it’s at least a step in the right direction, a chance to succeed. In 2014, 65 individuals graduated from the program with that chance.
“I truly believe that when they’re ready to change, they will,” Litteral said. “… I also believe that every bit of treatment that they have, that they get underneath their belt, they learn something. … The more they hear it, the more they see it, the more they learn it, the better off they will be to make the right choice.”