COMPTON, Calif. (AP) _ Martin Sheen wants first-time drug offenders to have a chance at getting help, rich and poor alike.

Sheen, whose actor son, Charlie Sheen, has a history of drug problems, helped open a court that is designed to help first-time offenders.

``Substance abuse costs our nation dearly in death, crime, incarceration, destruction of families and neighborhoods,'' the elder Sheen said Wednesday. ``Let's make sure that everybody, rich or poor ... has an opportunity to be healed ... rather than punished.''

Drug courts are aimed at helping first-time offenders, who usually must undergo counseling, detoxification and other programs. Defendants also get help finding work through the courts, which bring together law enforcement and treatment agencies.

Charlie Sheen was ordered in May to undergo detoxification and residential treatment after he surrendered to authorities for allegedly violating probation on a battery conviction.