Friday, September 19, 2014

Drug Court Brings Recovery to Many

By
Peter R. Coleman, M.D.
On a recent weekend trip, I had the pleasure of speaking at a Lawyers Helping Lawyers Conference. It didn’t hurt that the conference was held in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, which were spectacularly gorgeous. One of the other speakers was Judge Hammond who was instrumental in setting up the Henrico County Drug Court. This year the program is celebrating its 10 year anniversary and in that time the Henrico Drug Court has helped hundreds of people find recovery and stay in recovery! 
She gave a very informative talk on how it works. It is a very comprehensive program. Essentially, people who have a drug or alcohol problem, and who have broken their parole or probation are given a choice of going to jail or joining drug court. In drug court, they have to attend court weekly, attend therapy, attend support groups, get a job, and behave in other ways that are consistent with long- term sobriety. They have to face the judge every week. Any failure, including drug use, non-attendance, or other violations are immediately dealt with. Frequently people stay a weekend in jail. They usually get the message. The program works well because the rules are clear and the punishments are immediate.
In our world, good behavior is frequently motivated by carrots and sticks. If we go to work, we get a paycheck. If we punch a co-worker, we lose our job. In treatment programs, we have known for a long time that carrots and sticks work very well to help motivate people to stay clean and sober – especially in the early days of recovery when the temptation to relapse is so high. Frequently, in the early days, the motivation comes from outside (a spouse, a job, a judge), but over time the motivation starts to come from within. With time and practice, people stay clean and sober because they actually like being clean and sober. They like the new them – and they feel good about themselves. Drug courts can clearly provide that extra motivation in the early stages of recovery.   
If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We are here for you!  

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