Garfield drug court gets offenders clean
Two trembling hands grasped a Captain America figure as the courtroom of about 20 people applauded.
After two years in the program, Trenton McCall of Glenwood Springs graduated from drug court Wednesday. Charged in August 2013 with felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor theft, he faced prison.
Drug court provides treatment as an alternative to incarceration for appropriate offenders. Valerie MacDonald, problem solving court coordinator, said people go through three phases before graduating.
Two hundred treatment hours are included in those phases, which include therapy, support group sessions and drug assessments. MacDonald said the treatment depends on the client’s needs.
“We go through the continuum depending how they’re responding,” she said.
MacDonald said high-risk people driven by addiction are the target group for the program, which usually takes about two years to complete. Twelve people are currently in the program now, with McCall being the only graduate this week.
McCall stood before the court as Judge John Neiley congratulated him on his success and handed him a certificate and the action figure.
“The purpose for today is to send you on your way,” Neiley said to McCall.
The graduation, McCall said, was “pretty emotional” for him. He said while in the program, he experienced several family deaths, which made him want to sober up even more. He said he didn’t want his family to remember him as a drug addict.
He choked back tears and sniffled as he thanked the judge and others for supporting him.
“I’m going to stay on the same path and be the same person I’ve been for the past two years,” McCall said of changing his life. “It’s been good for my life.”
“I’m going to go have a cold Pepsi,” McCall said of what he was going to do to celebrate his graduation.
While congratulating him, Neiley told McCall he thinks of him as a hero for turning away from his life of addiction, which explained the Captain America figure.
“I thought I’d like to give him something tangible,” Neiley said. “It’s the little things that make the difference.”
He said McCall was the first person he’s put through graduation since taking over the program a year ago.
“Its been really good to watch him,” Neiley said. “He was headed to prison,” he said of McCall’s decision path, but said now he’s turned his life around.
“That’s what makes [the job] worthwhile,” Neiley said.
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