The District Attorney’s office recognizes that the use of illegal drugs (and the misuse of legal drugs) represents a risk to both public safety and public health. For that reason, we work with law enforcement, public institutions, and community partners to engage a three-pronged approach to combat drug use which includes prevention and education, treatment, and enforcement.
If an individual is charged with a violation or misdemeanor drug offense, including the illegal possession of a hypodermic instrument or criminal use of drug paraphernalia, the District Attorney’s office may permit the defendant to participate in Project Intervention, an education and treatment program that is administered by the County of Oswego Council on Alcoholism and Addictions (COCOAA). Upon completion of Project Intervention, the defendant will be eligible for a more favorable resolution of the pending charges.
Drug Treatment Court and Judicial Diversion
A defendant who is charged with a felony drug offense or other non-violent felony may be screened and considered for participation in Drug Treatment Court and Judicial Diversion upon referral by defense counsel. The program requires participation for a minimum of 12 months and mandates the defendant to engage in substance use treatment and to report regularly to the court for monitoring and supervision.
A defendant's acceptance into the program depends upon a variety of factors, including their history of alcohol or substance abuse, whether the abuse contributed to the charged crime, and whether incarceration is necessary for public safety.
A defendant who is accepted into Drug Treatment Court and Judicial Diversion must plead guilty to at least one felony offense and at least one misdemeanor offense. The defendant is required to sign a legally binding contract that sets forth the terms and conditions of participation.
A defendant who successfully completes the program typically will have their felony plea vacated and then be placed on probation for a misdemeanor offense. A participant who fails to complete the program will retain their felony conviction and be sentenced to state prison.
Any defendant who wishes to consider Drug Treatment Court and Judicial Diversion should consult with their attorney and fully discuss the potential risks and benefits of the program. The attorney must make the referral for screening and evaluation.
Opioid court is separate and distinct from Drug Treatment Court and Judicial Diversion. Opioid court is a “stabilization court” that is specifically designed for individuals who are addicted to opioids and who could benefit from medically-assisted treatment in order to reduce the risk of overdose and death. Defendants in the program must attend treatment, maintain contact, and report to court on a regular basis.
If you or someone you know needs treatment for a substance use disorder or addictions, you may obtain help by contacting one of the agencies below:
Drug Task Force
The Oswego County Drug Task Force (DTF) is a multi-agency organization that is focused on detecting and arresting drug dealers throughout the county. The DTF includes officers and investigators from the Oswego County District Attorney’s office, Oswego County Sheriff’s office, Oswego City Police Department, US Border Patrol, and Homeland Security Investigations. The DTF works in coordination with the New York State Police and SUNY Oswego University Police, as well as the Fulton City Police Department. If you believe that someone is selling drugs in Oswego County, please contact the Drug Tip Line at 315-349-8222 or toll-free at 888-511-8997.
Prevention and Education
The District Attorney recognizes that prevention plays an important role in helping our community combat substance use disorders. In his dual role as district attorney and coroner, DA Oakes has spoken at schools across the county about the legal and health risks associated with drug use. As part of its ongoing education efforts, the DA helped develop and finance a public service video about the perils of heroin and opioid use. The office also supports the ongoing education and awareness efforts of the Oswego County Prevention Coalition and the VOW Foundation.
In New York State, the Good Samaritan Law prevents criminal prosecution when someone seeks emergency medical assistance for a potential alcohol or drug overdose. The law protects both the person who called, as well as the patient. The DA's office takes an expansive view of the Good Samaritan Law and may extend its protection further. We would much rather save a life than seek a conviction. If you believe that you or someone you love is experiencing health complications due to alcohol or drugs, please call 911 and stay with the person to render aid until EMS arrives.