Drug addicts account for 16% of the inmates in the state prisons, 25% of those on probation, 33% of those on parole and 18% of those in federal prisons, as indicated by Drugwarfacts.org. As you can clearly see from these numbers, this is a huge problem with no ready solution, however there are interventions in place on the micro and macro levels to combat this rising population. One that is close to home (and my heart) is a program known by the moniker TROSA, or Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, Inc. TROSA’s mission statement is, “TROSA is an innovative, multi-year residential program that enables substance abusers to be productive, recovering individuals by providing comprehensive treatment, work-based vocational training, education, and continuing care” (Web). The funding for this program comes from donations, the businesses run by the addicts, and government support. Started in 1994 by former addict, Kevin McDonald, this program offers housing and treatment, as an alternative to prison for addicts that want to change. There is now a 74 bed facility on campus, with alternate close to campus living arrangements for those that rank higher up in their hierarchy. All that is lovely, but does this program work?
There are measures of the success of this program all around the community. One in particular, my boyfriend. Twenty years ago he was a down of his luck addict that ran into a load of trouble. The courts sentenced him to TROSA for two years. He came out of this whole experience a changed person, who has not touched a drug and hasn’t had even a speeding ticket since. It is hard for me to worry about other successes when I can see the proof of this program working every day. The creator of this program, Kevin McDonald, is a success story all his own! This program works, it works because it is another addict telling you were your problems are. As with everything, with the good can come the bad.
The negative consequences of this intervention are mainly limited to the surrounding community around the physical location of this program. It can be hard for people to deal day to day with the knowledge that there are criminals right next door. Also, for those that don’t have the true desire to change, this program is pointless. This doesn’t change the overwhelming support for this program within the community.
This intervention is hugely popular with county officials. At the inception of the program, the Durham County Board decided unanimously to rent the facility to Mr. McDonald for a sum of $1 a year. That speaks support in numbers. Known to every prosecutor in the surrounding counties, this program is bombarded with addicts wishing to be in it opposed to being in prison. Mr. McDonald makes no qualms about turning people away that he truly don’t feel will be helped, preferring to save the space for someone that can be.
In short, this intervention saves prison space and offers a chance to addicts to actually recover, not only from their drug addicts but from the problems that caused the addictions to begin with. In addition to that, it gives those people a chance to work, and learn why they should work. This gives them a sense of ability to support themselves by legal means, which is something some may not understand that they can do. This intervention gave me my boyfriend, as the man he is today. I am forever indebted.
(This is a paper written for my sociology class, I could have gone on for days about this program, but I had a limit to 2 pages to get the important info in.)
TROSA is a non-profit organization, please go to their page and donate to the cause.