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Drug Court celebrates a graduation

May 22, 2008
By Luke Anderson
MAYVILLE — The Chautauqua County Family Treatment Program celebrated another successful recovery from drug addiction at a graduation ceremony Wednesday morning.

The Hon. Judith Claire, Family Court judge, praised the graduate, whose name is withheld for privacy, for making the difficult journey from addiction to recovery.

“I’ve watched you become more and more focused, more confident and more tough,’’ Judge Claire said. “By getting well and being successfully reunited with your son, you set him a powerful example.’’

Judge Claire said participants are referred to the treatment court through neglect proceedings, so the threat of losing their children is one of their most powerful motivations to get clean.

She said of Wednesday’s graduate that she was driven to stick with the program out of love for her son and the desire to do right by him. But the graduate said she learned during the program that, in order to be successful, her first responsibility had to be to herself.

“Do it for yourselves and you’ll automatically be doing it for your families,’’ she said.

Treatment court is an intensive program, consisting of regular court appearances and counseling sessions. To graduate, participants must have completed at least a year in the program, keeping all required court and treatment appointments, and be gainfully employed or enrolled as a student, all while remaining drug and alcohol-free.

Judge Claire said the intensivity of the program leads to a low rate of recidivism among graduates, which allows for many families to be reunited.

Treatment court officials often invite former graduates to speak at their graduation ceremonies. One such graduate spoke Wednesday, saying that treatment court worked for her and announcing she recently delivered her first child since cleaning up.

“I’ve said the best result we get out of drug court is saving a life,’’ Judge Claire said. “Since our last graduation we’ve had several babies born drug-free, one of whom is in the courtroom today. As our graduates have told us, this program can make a difference.’’

Article Photos

The Hon. Judith Claire, Family Court judge, praised the graduate for her successful completion of the Drug Court treatment program.



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