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First Group Completes Hilliard Recovery Court Process

Hilliard Recovery Court will celebrate its first group of graduates at a special ceremony at noon Wednesday, Aug. 11, at the Norwich Pavilion, 4162 Columbia Street, in Weaver Park.

Four participants are expected to be recognized for completing the two-year alcohol and drug-recovery court process, which was launched in 2019 as an alternative to incarceration to help people dealing with substance abuse disorders find a path to an alcohol- and drug-free life.

The media and public are invited to attend. The ceremony will include remarks from Hilliard Recovery Court Staff, videos featuring program graduates, and recognition of the graduates.

The participants are the first graduates of what Prosecutor Dawn Steele hopes will be more successful graduates in the years to come.

“This is an intensive recovery program,” Steele said. “I am so proud of these graduates who made the decision to dedicate themselves to recovery and have used the tools provided by the Hilliard Recovery Court Staff to make life-saving changes.”

Recovery courts are designed to help people dealing with substance use disorder to find a path away from jail and toward an alcohol- drug-free life. Recovery courts identify people going through the court system who are struggling with substance use disorder and divert them away from potential jail terms and into a closely monitored substance-abuse treatment program that help them get control of their lives.

Those who do complete the treatment and recovery court program will walk away either without charges on their record or a reduced jail sentence – and with the potential of leading a life free from substance abuse.

“The Hilliard Recovery Court has given me the ability to enjoy life beyond what I ever thought it could be,” said Tina Schreck, Hilliard Recovery Court graduate. “The people in charge really care about the long-term outcome. I’ve been sober now for nearly two years, and I can confidently say I wouldn’t be where I am today without this program.”

Because mayor’s courts like the one in Hilliard typically are designed to handle a docket of low-level crimes, they haven’t traditionally been well equipped to address substance use issues from a recovery and treatment approach at the local level.

Hilliard’s program was made possible in part by a $50,000 grant from the Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County and by approved additional funding from the City of Hilliard. The early success of the Program enabled the City to apply for and receive a $500,000 federal grant to be used for staff and recovery service expansion through 2024.

“The ability for this program to reach people when they first enter the criminal justice system and provide services from the moment they set foot in court is important early intervention that creates the biggest chance of success for stabilization and recovery,” Steele said. “The hope is to continue providing treatment services that help participants achieve long-term recovery and become thriving members of the community.”

Steele said that while the recovery court is designed for high-risk, high-need individuals who need intensive intervention, the City has recently expanded its efforts by offering Recovery Education Program (REP) Plan resolutions for individuals at lower risk and need levels. This applies intervention service solutions to the problems that bring non-violent, low-level offenders into contact with police and fire services.

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