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Delta County celebrates National Drug Court Month

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Photo by Pat Sunderland Pictured at Adult Treatment Court are (front row, left to right) Juan Gallegos, Christi Helmick, Hailey Russell, Lyn Taylor, graduate Kristi Duran, Josie Wade, Misty Schaefer, Cameron Nelson and Pam Bliss; (back row) Dave Wasson, K

In celebration of National Drug Court Month, Drug Free Delta County and Delta County's Treatment Courts hosted an open house Thursday, May 12, in Judge Sandra Miller's courtroom. Drug Free Delta County is a non-profit organization that works alongside Delta County's Treatment Courts, providing services to clients of both the Adult and Family Treatment Courts. The highlight of the celebration was the graduation of Kristi Duran from Adult Treatment Court.

Treatment Court graduations are a true celebration of recovery and a new life. To quote a recent graduate, "Delta County's Drug Court gave me back my life. Even before I was using I was lost. Through Drug Free Delta County's program, I have found my purpose. My relationships with friends and family have been renewed."

National Drug Court Month is coordinated on a nationwide level by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and locally through Drug Free Delta County. This year's theme, "Criminal Justice Reform in Action," is apropos as the celebration comes amid unprecedented interest in criminal justice reform as policymakers at the state and federal level are seeking solutions that reduce substance abuse, crime and incarceration while saving lives and resources. No solution has been proven more effective than drug courts and other treatment courts.

Delta County's Treatment Courts represent a proven budget solution for our area. Through the efforts of Judge Sandra Miller, Judge Steven Schultz, probation, the Child Protection Unit, tireless staff and board, and countless volunteers, our treatment courts are truly making a difference, from reducing drug use and recidivism, to reuniting families and making our community safer. These courts are saving lives, saving families and saving taxpayer dollars. Drug Courts save up to $13,000 for every individual they serve and return as much as $27 for every $1 invested.

This May, Drug Courts throughout the country are demonstrating that a combination of accountability and compassion should be the foundation upon which our criminal justice system handles drug addicted individuals. By treating our chronically addicted offenders, we can save vast amounts of money, protect public safety and reduce drug abuse in our community.

For more information on Delta County's Treatment Courts and Drug Free Delta County, please call Lisa Tullio at 970-209-1740. If you would like to serve as a volunteer, contact Pam Bliss at 970-234-5631.

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