September 22, 2017


St. Mary’s Adult Substance Abuse Recovery Court

The St. Mary’s County Adult Substance Abuse Recovery Court serves people with severe substance abuse or dependency who have landed in the court system as a result.

Since its inception, more than 80 people with have been admitted into the program. Before entering Drug Court, participants had committed crimes in our community, fueled by the need to ingest a substance or substances into their body despite the negative consequences it brings.

Each graduate completes four phases of intense supervision and substance abuse counseling. The recent graduates averaged 17 months to complete the program. During this time they were subjected to hundreds of drug and alcohol tests. They were required to come to court and see Circuit Court Judge Karen H. Abrams regularly, attend counseling and see their case manager frequently.

Adult Substance Abuse Recovery Court generally serves those at most risk and need. It is a tough population and a tough program. But the rewards are tremendous. For one of the recent graduates, the time in drug court provided her with the opportunity to be re-united with her children. Another graduate stated, “Drug court saved my life.”

Judge Abrams volunteers to oversee the Adult Substance Abuse Recovery Court docket. She has helped guide the continued progress of the program. It takes a team effort to administer the program, and the Department of Parole and Probation, Walden-Sierra, Inc., State’s Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, Public Defender’s Office and Circuit Court help facilitate the program.

“We look forward to continue to serve the citizens of our community who abuse drugs and alcohol and enter the criminal justice system,” said Pete Cucinotta, Coordinator of St. Mary’s County Drug Courts. “They would otherwise be incarcerated yet again and then return to our community and their old behaviors. But for those who embrace this program, they will be afforded the opportunity to break their personal cycle of destructiveness and move forward constructively with a new sense of purpose.”

 

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