Drug Court plays vital role in many lives

Friday, May 18, 2018

For those struggling with addiction and recovery issues, there are countless stories that offer hope.

Ten graduates of the local Drug Court added their names to the list of people who have changed their lives and are working to overcome addiction.

As reported by Marybeth Niederkorn, administrator Sheila Sauer said the 32nd Judicial District is fortunate to have the drug court program, which serves as an alternative to jail time for people charged with drug- or alcohol-related offenses.

This Drug Court, according to Niederkorn's reporting, is one of 149 similar programs in Missouri, serving more than 4,800 participants, as of February.

The financial benefits to taxpayers are quantifiable, but the intangible benefits are priceless. Families are united and people begin leading productive and positive lives.

But the program is not a simple one; if it were, there would be more than a handful of graduates.

"Anyone who thinks it's easy to get through this program is wrong," Judge Scott Lipke said.

The program consists of treatment providers, law-enforcement officials, social workers, parole officers and others who weight the merits of each case and decide whether the addict is a good candidate for the program.

If he or she is accepted, they're put on five years' probation as a condition of participation, Sauer said. Then the participant is put on a strict regimen of drug testing, therapy sessions, 12-step meetings and case-manager meetings.

Congratulations to the recent drug court graduates. By completing the program they are well on their way to improving their lives and engaging in healthy relationships with family and friends.

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