WILMINGTON – There were many successes at the drug court hearing Tuesday.
The You-Turn Recovery Docket usually meets the first and third Friday of every month at 1:30 p.m., but the first meeting for October was pushed to Tuesday to coincide with a presentation by Orman Hall, director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.
Clinton County Court of Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck opened the status hearing to a full room of people from the community, explaining how the drug court came about.
“Last year at this time this was just a vision,” he said.
There are more than 2,700 drug courts throughout the United States, but there is only one drug court in Clinton County, he said.
Drug court is very different than regular court, Rudduck said.
“It is a treatment emphasized type docket where we treat addiction as a health issue, not as a criminal issue,” he said.
When the drug court started in January, Rudduck said the drug problem in Clinton County was bigger than the Court of Common Pleas; the court would need help from the community to make the program a success.
“I need the community to buy in,” he said. “I invite the community to attend these programs because you don’t know what’s going on unless you’re here. You don’t know the needs these people have unless you’re here.”
Rudduck said it is his hope that if drug court participants need help with transportation or need help finding a job, the community will step up and help its peers.
Three of the six participants at Tuesday’s hearing are in the second phase of the program, which has four phases spread throughout 18 months. Participants in the second phase only have to attend one of the hearings a month but they still regularly attend treatment appointments and group therapy.
One participant of the drug court, Traey Rockhold, was moved up to Phase 1 from the Orientation phase.
Rockhold’s case is different than the other participants’ cases, Rudduck said, because ROckhold was a drug dealer, not a drug user.
“I’m not sure if you were as addicted to drugs as you were desperate for money,” Rudduck said.
Even though his struggles have been a bit different than the other participants, Rockhold is getting back on his feet and working toward a better lifestyle for himself and for his son.
“I finally got my driver’s license back,” he said.
Because he can now drive, Rockhold is taking tax preparation classes to try to get his old job back, he said.
One of the participants who is in Phase 2, David Key, now has two jobs and is helping prepare the Hope Over Heroin event, which is Friday and Saturday.
Key said he is working hard to pay off child support that he owes for the past year and is working hard to better himself and stay sober.
Like Key, Randall Kerns works 30 hours at Pizza Hut and is working hard to stay sober.
He told Rudduck he feels like things are becoming complacent and he has to remind himself that he needs to go to group therapy for support.
Rudduck agreed with Kerns.
“There is a natural tendency to get complacent,” he said. “Studies have said (18 months) is the minimum for this type of supervision. I don’t want you to get complacent.”
Like Rockhold, Kaira Kintz also got her driver’s license back after it being suspended because of the charges she faced.
“Now you I’m real proud of,” Rudduck said.
Rudduck said he is working with a committee of people in Columbus to rewrite some laws, including how people have their driver’s license suspended after having a drug offense.
“If you put someone in treatment and we’re mandatorily required to suspend your license, it makes it kind of counterproductive. How can you get treatment?” he said.
The fifth participant at the drug court hearing was Melissa Irwin, who was remanded until custody until Friday for testing positive for opiates.
The sixth participant at the drug court hearing was a new participant who was just accepted into the program.
Charley Ramirez, who is 34 weeks pregnant, pled guilty to charges including theft, breaking and entering, possession of criminal tools, and tampering with evidence. She asked if she could go into the drug court in lieu of prison and Rudduck accepted her into the program.
“You’re here because drugs have been a problem,” he said. “Your issue really triggered me doing some investigation.”
His investigation included looking into programs in prison for women who are pregnant who are also have drug addiction issues.
Rudduck said he found out around 100 women a year give birth to healthy babies in prison, yet he wants to help Ramirez avoid giving birth in prison.
“You’ve got a support system in place,” he said. “(It’s) question of whether you can be strong enough to make the right decision when things aren’t going well.”
Ramirez said the family support has been helping her a lot and she can already tell she is changing.
“When I feel down and out I talk about it,” she said. “I talk about what’s bothering me instead of keeping it all bottled up.”
Rudduck said he accepted Ramirez’s application and accepted her into the drug court because he believes she can get over her addiction to drugs and lead a healthy lifestyle.
“You should be motivated,” he said.
The next drug court hearing, which Rudduck encourages community members to attend, will be Oct. 16 at 1:30 p.m.
Reach Dylanne Petros at 937-382-2574, ext. 2514, or on Twitter @DylannePetros.