This archived article was written by: Seth Richards
To graduate from drug court, a panel of former addicts came to USU Eastern on Feb. 7 to scare the campus community straight.
As the last step of his court-mandated rehabilitation, a local former addict, with the help of USU Eastern Counselor Darrin Brandt, held a meeting in the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center to raise awareness about addiction as a disease. Four addicts, all self admitted to the drug court program for rehabilitation, spoke to the campus community in an open forum about their struggles, the program and how becoming addicted to alcohol and narcotics ruins lives.
The panelists had all become addicts during their teenage years, all through the help of less-reputable friends. Each found that they enjoyed that moment when the drugs would take control, but found that it ruined their lives; e.g. one left school, another went to jail and was separated from his children and another was in and out of jail.
Attention was drawn in the meeting to the high mortality rate of users; the harsh, but necessary court-appointed trackers, who have the ability to call for drug tests at any time; the low recidivism rate of those who choose the drug court program as opposed to those who quit on their own or with only the assistance of a narcotics anonymous program; and the various requirements of the drug court program.
The panelists advise students, especially teenagers, to be careful in choosing friends, find positive outlets and maintain a positive atmosphere.
Requirements of the drug court program include: responding to the calls of trackers, taking classes to help rebuild cognizant abilities lost to drugs, spending 40 hours per week in class, community service, or working and a final community project.
This panel was the final project for one of the members who has been sober for 27 months and will graduate from the program at the end of February.