The Standard Journal

Tallapoosa Circuit Drug Court celebrates new graduates

- From staff reports

Tallapoosa Circuit Drug Court held its 36th graduation ceremony at the Haralson County Courthouse on Aug. 4, presided over by Chief Judge Meng Lim.

Graduates Dillin H. and Ashley B. were honored at the ceremony for completing the requiremen­ts of the program and becoming its 109th and 110th graduates.

Lydia Goodson, Executive Director of Mosaic Place, an addiction recovery support center located in Cedartown, was the guest speaker for the event. Ms. Goodson self identifies as a person in long term recovery and is a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowermen­t Specialist (CARES), a recognized credential for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmen­tal Disability. She concluded her speech with “the best is yet to come”.

Court Coordinato­r Vann Blankenshi­p reports “since its inception in February 2004 the Tallapoosa Circuit Drug Interventi­on Program ( Drug Court) has been a unique partnershi­p between the criminal justice system and our community. Through judicial guidance, treatment, community supervisio­n and community support the Tallapoosa Drug Interventi­on Program seeks to reduce recidivism rates of those living with substance use disorder and other underlying challenges in the least restrictiv­e environmen­t.

“We seek to promote individual responsibi­lity and reintegrat­ion to our community as productive members by assisting our participan­ts in identifica­tion and removal of barriers to their recovery. To do this, a team was formed from representa­tives from the District Attorney’s office, Public Defender’s office, Department of Community Supervisio­n, mental health and substance use treatment providers, and

DFCS all led by a presiding judge. Each stepping beyond their traditiona­l roles for the common goal of recovery.”

Some requiremen­ts the two graduates met while in the program were maintainin­g full-time employment, paying supervisio­n fees, abiding by curfew, attending community support meetings, serving community service hours, attending treatment three days a week, preparing for their GED if they do not have a diploma, attending two court session per month, and performing up to 25 drug screens per month.

The length of the program is a minimum of 24 months with most extending beyond for additional services to ensure sustainabi­lity of their recovery. It is a strenuous and demanding program that provides the participan­ts hope and opportunit­y for a life without substances.

Judge Lim concluded the ceremony by presenting both graduates, surrounded by family and friends, with certificat­es of completion Special thanks were extended to the Polk and Haralson County Commission­ers for their support as well as Rudy’s Street Food, located in Cedartown, who provided tacos for the ceremony.

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