The Logan Drug Court program is not an easy one, noted Mike Lacy, Director of Probation Services for the WV Supreme Court during Friday’s Logan Juvenile Drug Court Graduation.
Lacy, who has very strong ties to Logan and Boone Counties knows what he is talking about. He helped put together the Day Report and Drug Court programs that have successfully helped many addicts get clean and sober and build new lives for themselves through a combination of counseling, drug screening, education, training and community service.
Lacy said it was a pleasure for him when he got to enjoy attending a graduation ceremony from the drug court programs across the Mountain State. Lacy had some words of encouragement for the trio of graduates on May 3 as well. He noted that even though there were many important leaders and officials in the room from Logan to Washington that on that particular day the most important people in the room were the two young men and one young lady who had successfully completed the program.
“I have a lot of respect for you because I know it is a tough program- it was designed to be difficult,” he said. “I helped write the requirements for the programs and there is nothing easy about them.”
Lacy said that it was much easier to use the old standby ways of dealing with drug addiction - jail time and traditional rehab. Unfortunately, he noted, many people leave jail or hospitals and return immediately to their old habits- including drug habits, because they did not adress the problems and challenges in their lives that lead them to abuse controlled substances. The core of drug court is a combination of regular drug screenings, counseling, education, community service and family support. “They work because of your hard work,” he told the graduates and the staff of the Logan Drug Court and Day Report programs.
Lacy said studies have shown that the way drug court programs approach the problems of addiction are working and he had the statistics to back that claim up as well. Lacy noted that in 2011 there were 3.1 million Americans who tried drugs for the first time.
“That is almost twice the population of West Virginia,” he said, adding that in the past two years, the recidivism rate was only 9.4 percent for adult drug court graduates. “I challenge anybody to look at the statistics and compare them to other programs.”
Lacy said the work of the Logan Drug Court, Juvenile Drug Court and Day Report Center would go on “because our friends and neighbors need help.”
Judge Eric O’Briant introduced the trio of graduates to the people assembled at the new Logan County Commission headquarters for the graduation ceremony, and noted that the length of time a grad spent in the program did not tell the whole story. To graduate a client has to meet certain goals, both in terms of sober living and in education.
“And we have a lot of activities geared towards the school year,” he said, noting “all of our graduates have achieved their educational goals as well as their other goals.”
The first graduate was a young man who came into the program on July 5, of 2011 and had made great successes in achievements. The young man thanked the judge as well as the probation teams, treatment teams and former and current Juvenile Drug Court Coordinators Tiffany Robinson and Ashlee Collier.
“This program really helped me a lot,” he said. “I remember how it was before. I was making “F”s” in school and not doing much of anything. But this program helped me. I got my grades up. I got involved in school activities and I got involved in sports as well. I want to thank all of you for what you did for me.”
The second young man also thanked the treatment team and Juvenile Drug Court staff for helping him to make great strides in improvement.
“You helped me change my life,” he said.
Judge O’Briant noted that both men had not only completed the stringent requirements of the program, but added neither of them ever had tested positive on a drug screen once coming into the Logan Juvenile Drug Court program. O’Briant said the third graduate a female had tested clean on her drug screens for over a year.
“I want to thank everybody, you really helped me out a lot,” she said.
O’Briant urged the teens to show their appreciation by “paying it forward” and challenged them to continue in moving forward in a successful and sober life.
“Do not stop today- share what you have learned,” the Judge said.