Pair hope to end cycle

Published 11:58 am Thursday, January 13, 2005

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
EDWARDSBURG - They serve their time, try to get off drugs, but without a job many drug users fall back into the court system again and again.
Two men have developed a plan to help those who are caught in this continuous circle.
Greg Price of Union, a bail bondsmen, has joined with David Appoloni of Three Rivers.
Since Appoloni is a corrections officer with the Cass County Sheriff's Office, Price said it was an unusual combination.
Both are dedicated and have years of working with those who have made wrong decisions in their lives.
The court system is filled with those picked up for drugs, possession, use and manufacturing, Price said.
Other crimes also often have drug use behind them, such as domestic violence, child abuse and bank fraud.
They developed New Hope DRC and are operating out of Eastgate Plaza, 802 E. State St., Cassopolis, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
They also will test on Saturday, and come to businesses.
Test results are immediate, but they also send samples out for confirmation, should evidence be required in court.
They test for five drugs: marijuana, methamphetamine, PCP, opiates and cocaine.
After seeing three generations on drugs, Price and Appoloni have developed a plan where a company can hire someone with previous drug problems and give him or her a chance to change and stay drug free, while protecting themselves.
Random drug tests help, so does a patch which the employee wears on their arm or back all week. The sweat patch is then sent to a lab where traces of drug use are revealed.
Their testing and monitoring equipment is highly technical, Appoloni said and can detect attempts to dilute or scam the results. Items such as bleach, mega vitamins, and even Sure Jel have been used in an attempt to alter test results. Two additional employees at New Hope are also certified to test.
Programs can be tailored to the individual company. A trucking company, for example, may want their drivers tested each morning for alcohol use.
They also are working on a program which will include classes on parenting, finding employment and anger management.
Appoloni worked at a state prison in Wyoming, as a St. Joseph County Deputy and for the Twin County Probation Center, where he helped to set up programs which have become highly successful. "I saw extremes," he added.
These programs could have an impact on reducing those entering the court system, but also in the workplace, job injuries will be reduced, as will absenteeism. "This will increase moral," Price said.
Presently they are doing random testing quarterly on employees of Midwest Energy in Cassopolis. They will travel a 50 to 70 mile radius.
The unique business has the potential of helping to break the cycle of users returning to jail, which is their hope.