Home Features The Prometa Program is Making Drug Court Inroads
The Prometa Program is Making Drug Court Inroads
October 2007

Karen Freeman-Wilson, former Indiana Attorney General and former CEO of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, has joined Hythiam’s board.

After Running Many Pilots, Courts Are Increasingly Adopting Hythiam’s Program

About a couple of years ago, Hythiam Inc. began a critical demonstration pilot of its Prometa Program with the City Court of Gary, Indiana, where for years police and the courts had dealt with a growing and often intractable crack cocaine problem.

And while Hythiam has always had strong confidence in the efficacy of its Prometa Program, which the company believes is highly effective in reducing cravings and improving cognitive functions for those addicted to stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as alcohol, the results of the Gary court pilot were even more than Hythiam had hoped for.

Gary City Court cut short the pilot two-thirds of the way through, and promptly adopted the Prometa Program based on the evidence of its effectiveness. "We weren't expecting Prometa to have such a dramatic impact," said Gary Court Judge Deidre Monroe, adding that only 4 of the 197 urine screens taken from pilot participants had tested positive for cocaine, far less than was typical in the court's experience.

Judge Monroe said Gary would henceforth be working with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals to help mentor other drug courts in introducing Prometa as a treatment for addiction to stimulants.

Since the successful Gary pilot, Hythiam has announced a number of pilots with drug courts around the nation, including most recently with the Las Vegas Municipal Drug Court. Others are also increasingly adopting the program, with Collin County, TX, last month being the latest court system to announce the Prometa Program's adoption for probationers.

Getting funding for Prometa's use in courts is a major issue, but Hythiam appears to be making some progress on that front. Hythiam recently announced that the state of Texas had allocated a sum of $2 million to go toward funding the use of Prometa in other jurisdictions throughout the state, as Collin County had already moved to fund the program within its own jurisdiction.

Arlandis Rush, the vice president of government programs at Hythiam who is spearheading the company’s drug courts effort, says that Hythiam is currently in serious discussions with more than a dozen drug courts about adopting Prometa, in addition to the ones about which the company has already made public announcements.

Methamphetamine Admissions Soar graphFunding for Prometa has also been approved at the county and state level in Washington state, where the Pierce County Alliance, PCA, a non-profit social services agency, has conducted successful pilots on Prometa. PCA, which deals with many cases of stimulants abuse, said, after concluding a 14- month pilot of Prometa earlier this year, that the protocol had been more successful than any other treatment the agency had previously used.

Pierce County has a very high incidence of methamphetamine abuse, for which admissions have been soaring nationwide (see chart) and for which Hythiam claims Prometa is efficacious.

In the 14-month study by PCA, which included many methamphetamine cases, 98 percent of all urine tests throughout the 14-month period came back drug and alcohol free, with 86 percent the patients who completed the Prometa Program remaining drug free after 14 months.

Terren Peizer, Hythiam’s founder and CEO, points out that there are currently some five million people within the U.S. criminal justice system that need treatment. "Going forward, we expect these pathways we have established in states like Texas and Washington to serve as templates for the widespread utilization of the Prometa Treatment Program throughout the country," he said. PD

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