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Santa Clara County to stop filing charges in some drug cases

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office will no longer file charges against most people arrested or cited for possessing small amounts of illegal drugs.

The Mercury News reports prosecutors say they want to keep one- and two-time offenders out of the court system and instead divert them to drug treatment programs.

They say the change will allow them to focus on more serious addiction cases that can become community nuisances or public-safety concerns.

Assistant District Attorney David Angel tells the newspaper its office spends the vast majority of its time on low-level, public-health cases.

Santa Clara County will join a small number of jurisdictions across the country experimenting with treating minor drug possession as a public-health issue.

The new policy is expected to be implemented by the end of the summer.