Program for juvies is maxed out

It's a proven drug treatment that helps cut the cycle of addicts going in and out of jail. But a program to help the youngest junkies -- the juveniles -- is continually maxed out. It can't help all the kids who ask for it.

Not every juvenile offender is a success story - like "Juan."

"Just the fact I got over it and changed my life," said "Juan."

Through the Chemical Dependency Disposition Alternative -- also known as CDDA, "Juan" got sober from marijuana and alcohol.
It offers kids treatment instead of jail.

"So far I'm more than a year sober - of sobriety," said "Juan."

Juan's one of the few who graduate. Just about 25 kids are part of CDDA each year. It's not that more kids don't want to take part -- it's that the county can't afford to put them there. The state caps the amount of money for each county.

With an increase in population and drug abuse, the cap on this program could cause a series of repeat offenders.

"I just hope we're able to continue with our numbers. You know -- hopefully those numbers do grow at some point," said CDDA Probation Counselor Amy Ayres.

In the last year -- 50 kids wanted to be part of CDDA -- but only half could get the help. Program coordinators say the juveniles often can't do it on their own.

"So often these kids come in -- completely clueless about how serious their addiction problem," said Ayres.

Instead of sitting in juvy -- the structured program is aimed at stopping the criminal and drug cycle. Officials tell KEPR the state doesn't have the money to add more members. Juan wants success for other kids, too.

"Just go through it - hold it back - do your best and listen, pay attention," advised Juan.

All to get clean and get back into the community.

It costs about ten-thousand dollars per juvenile to go through the program. Treatment runs one year before someone is considered a graduate. The local program has graduated about 50-kids over the past two and a half years.