WILMINGTON — Michelle Arledge was admitted to drug court after she overdosed in the lobby of a church which, at that very time, was hosting the September 2019 You-Turn Recovery Docket (drug court) graduation ceremony.
Last Friday Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck informed Arledge she has successfully completed the You-Turn drug court and will be part of a planned spring graduation ceremony.
She has completed an intervention-in-lieu-of-conviction plan as a component of her drug court requirements; she’s completed programs at Talbert House where she’s been over a year; and she has just passed her 103rd drug screen.
Arledge was relaxed and smiling Friday at the drug court status session where Rudduck called on her to be the first participant of the day at the podium. The judge said he thinks she visited the fall 2019 drug court graduation “as a sign of seeking help.”
The same Friday session concluded with a woman who is newly admitted to drug court. Macy Evans recently overdosed at the county courthouse where she had come for a court hearing in a drug possession case.
In that case, she was sentenced last Thursday to two years of community control, received a six-month jail term and was granted credit for 234 days already served in incarceration, ordered to pay all court costs in the case, and admitted to drug court.
At her first You-Turn session, Evans said she feels really good, but also disclosed that a member of her immediate family had ended their life on that date nine years earlier.
As is the custom for all drug court participants, she was asked to read Rudduck’s rule for participants, all of whom struggle with a substance use problem.
“I [the judge] don’t require perfection, but I do demand honesty,” she read aloud.
In that regard, a five-plus months streak of having no positive drug screens among drug court participants has ended, Rudduck announced.
The good news is that the streak breaker “didn’t run, he came in knowing that he was going to be testing positive,” said Rudduck.
The man came in and said he bought a pressed pill that was supposed to be Percocet, which is a prescription medication used to treat the symptoms of acute pain and moderate-to-severe pain, and for which he didn’t have a prescription. The problem, said Rudduck, was it contained fentanyl, and so the man tested positive for fentanyl.
The man had the courage to come to the court’s Adult Supervision Department, the judge told the other drug court participants.
“We ultimately had him placed in a residential facility where his mental health issues can be addressed,” said Rudduck.
A pill press can mimic a genuine prescription pill and yet the garage maker can put in it what they will for effect.
As a cautionary tale, the judge pointed out the man “literally could be dead now” because of buying on the street what he thought was a prescription pill.
Another one of the participants, Cheyenne, previously “got kicked out of drug court,” noted Rudduck during Cheyenne’s turn at the podium.
The prior time that Cheyenne was admitted to drug court he started out OK, said the judge, acknowledging he was always a little concerned about him, “and then his brother died; I don’t think you recovered for a long period of time.”
Cheyenne said, “It made me shut down everything, even push my family away.”
Presently, he feels like he is a lot better now, is loving his job and helping out with bills. The relationship with his son is a little rocky, he said, but he’s working on it.
You-Turn Recovery Case Manager Jessica Harrington said to him that he has addressed a lot of his underlying mental health issues that he hadn’t addressed in the past.
Cheyenne responded by agreeing that his mental health is a key.
“That’s where all the relapse was coming from, and all the stuff,” said Cheyenne. He said he wouldn’t talk about his brother’s death, wouldn’t grieve it, wouldn’t accept it.
Stephen, a participant who was recognized Friday for a year of sobriety, spoke about how he has struggled with addiction ever since he was 19 when he was prescribed pain pills.
“I didn’t know what addiction was. I didn’t even know what being dope-sick was,” he said.
At one point in the twice-monthly proceedings, Rudduck stated, “Drug court is harder than just regular supervision [probation].”
The judge asked a participant who was promoted Friday to Phase 2 of the drug court regimen, why she originally had been hesitant to take part in You-Turn.
“Honestly, I was kind of embarrassed,” she said, elaborating that in the past she has sold drugs to a lot of the people now in drug court.
The judge responded it is important she said that, adding that when somebody starts expressing that kind of thing it can be part of a road to recovery.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.