Court provides funds for substance abuse counseling


People seeking substance abuse counseling services may qualify to receive $1,000 to help pay for it.

Dubois Superior Court is using the bulk of a $60,000 grant it has received to implement two programs.

“One of the things that I think maybe is a major hurdle to people getting help is the fact that they say they can’t afford treatment or counseling,” Superior Court Judge Mark McConnell said. “And this is an opportunity for people to get some help.”

The court is using $55,000 of the grant to help pay for up to $1,000 in substance abuse counseling services for a person at no cost to the person. Playful Healing and Counseling in Jasper will provide the counseling services.

The first program is the “I Need Help” initiative and is open to the public. “The people don’t have to have any involvement with the criminal justice system at all to call that number,” McConnell said. “They can just call and tell the people that I need help. And then they’re going to connect them with services.”

A person seeking help may contact Playful Healing at 812-631-2780, or reach out to any law enforcement officer, Superior Court at 812-481-7070, the county probation department at 812-481-7075, the Court Alcohol and Drug Program at 812-482-5342, or community corrections at 812-481-2449 and say, “I need help.” The person will be immediately referred to a counselor who is standing by to help. That counselor will assess the situation and connect the person with treatment.

There will also be “I Need Help” cards that a person can pick up that will have Playful Healing’s number.

Everything, including the person’s identity, will be known only by the person and the counselor.

“We will never even know the identity of that person. It will all be confidential,” McConnell said. “We will pay for the counseling. We will be billed directly by the counseling service. So, there’s not going to be any criminal or court ramifications on that whatsoever.”

The second program involves offenders in the Court Alcohol and Drug Program. The program will refer offenders to Playful Healing to provide up to $1,000 of substance abuse addiction counseling services to the person.

“Those are folks we already know and we’ve already ordered them into that service,” McConnell said. “It’s just giving them some assistance in paying for that treatment. They’re much more likely to be successful if they’ve got some help paying for those things.”

The court funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis until they are depleted. The money will be used to pay bills that remain after a person’s insurance or other collateral sources have been used. How much a person receives will be based on his or her income and resources.

The $60,000 Dubois County Superior Court has received is a Justice Partners Addiction Response Grant that comes from the Indiana Supreme Court. Along with the $55,000 being used for the two programs, Superior Court will use $5,000 for law enforcement training.

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