Pubdate: Fri, 29 Oct 2004
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Copyright: 2004 Messenger-Inquirer
Author: Owen Covington
Bookmark: (Drug Courts)
Bookmark: (Drug Test)


Fifteen Graduate From Program

Tim Reid has a tattoo of a teardrop below his right eye to remind him of 
his brother's unsuccessful struggle against cancer.

Reid took a big step in his own struggle with addiction with his graduation 
Thursday from Daviess County Drug Court, but he said no tears should be 
shed about his battle.

"I got a disease I can cure. There ain't no sense in crying over it," Reid 
told those gathered at the Judicial Center for the ceremony. "You've got to 
fight it and be strong."

Reid was one of 15 of the program's most recent graduates, all of whom who 
have been in the intensive addiction treatment for at least 50 weeks.

Criminal offenders with addiction problems who are accepted in drug court 
have the opportunity to avoid jail time by entering the program.

The program combines mandatory sobriety from alcohol and drugs with therapy 
and random drug testing. Participants have homework assignments and are 
required to have three months of continuous employment.

Daviess Circuit Judge Tom Castlen, who oversees the program, said Thursday 
that the graduates have found jobs, worked at re-establishing relationships 
with their families and now have the tools to combat their addictions.

"We've really been on you," Castlen told the graduates, who are both male 
and female, young and old. "But this is not the end. ... It is only the end 
of the beginning of your recovery.

State Rep. Tommy Thompson, a Philpot Democrat, speaking to the graduates, 
said Thursday's ceremony was probably the most important graduation the 
participants would attend.

"What's important is the journey you've been on and the strides and lengths 
you've taken to reinvent yourselves free from drugs," Thompson said. "It's 
a tough, tough program. ... Because of your commitment, you've gained those 
assets ... and you've improved yourselves."

Nearly 140 drug court participants have graduated since the program was 
started in August 2000, with 48 more currently involved.

Lora McCarty, program coordinator, said a new staff member was hired two 
weeks ago, which could allow drug court to expand to work with up to 80 

The county is moving forward with plans to establish a juvenile drug court 
program after receiving a $15,000 grant this month from the state 
Department for Juvenile Justice.

Juvenile drug court is a similar program for youths aged 13 to 17 charged 
with nonviolent offenses related to tobacco, drugs or alcohol.

Castlen said the adult program affects not only the participants, but their 
family members who often suffer when a person is struggling with addiction.

"Many of these people, their families have rallied around them," Castlen 
said. "The healing that goes on here is inspiring. I get so much from these 
people, from seeing what they've accomplished."
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