Everyone in Judge Craig Hannah’s opiate-specific court is offered a deal: complete addiction treatment and the charges against them may be reduced


“You have to want to get help, and you have to want to help yourself,” counsels Judge Craig Hannah from his bench in Buffalo city court 11. “You can’t just keep running away from the treatment bus.”

Hannah, a pioneering jurist who oversees the nation’s first Opiate Crisis Intervention Court in northern New York, is speaking to a man who has flunked out of rehab a second time. A bed in a third facility may not be so easy to find. The addict – a “participant” in the parlance of the court – looks doubtful, and Hannah continues his pitch: “If you get on the bus, I’m going to take off my robe and come down there and shake you by the hand.

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