From the bottom of my heart, I say we need a change in the Drug Court system of America. According to the official website for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, two thousand seven hundred thirty-four Drug Courts will serve one hundred thirty-six thousand people. That is equal half the population of Wyoming. Numbers show the sheer amount of people who successfully graduate is colossal, but there is a problem. Not every Drug Court provides accurate mental care, housing, or standard of cleanliness. I find this absolutely ridiculous, as the website states that, “Addiction knows no race, gender, age, or socio-economic background.” So why aren’t all one hundred thirty-six thousand people receiving the same care?
If you take a good look at the Talbert House on Burnet Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio, you may see just another building. But, if you look closer, you see that it is home to the ADAPT Program, a program that helps addicts recover. You would think that it is a safe haven for the addicted, a place of sanctuary, but it is not. Those with family inside realize that the simple building outside is a facade for the edifice of oppression it truly is. Back before my sister graduated from the program, my family would visit every so often. My mother and I would pick up my four year old niece from her deadbeat father and drive to the Talbert House. We would enter the sweltering lobby, sign in, and wait. After fifteen minutes, the massive two inch door’s deadbolt would slide open and a staff member would step out. She would walk us through the barren white halls, through another massive locked door and into the cafeteria. The dingy room had flimsy chairs, unclean tables, and the stench of processed food. Cockroaches crawled across the floor, making everyone’s spines shudder with disgust. Then, our family would enter the room and they would sit across from us.
We would sit across from our family member, and one of the staff would say in her disgruntled voice, “ Remember, no contact!”. My sister had been clean for three months when I first saw her again, and I wasn’t even allowed a handshake. We would talk about life in the Talbert House. Mind you, these are all real accounts from my sister. Twelve hours a day they would sit in their rooms, the only recreational materials given by donors or family. Some would protest endlessly about how they hated it there, despite graduating the program and getting immediately arrested for drug use. They could not open windows, and view of the outside world was obscured by black tinted glass. Anyone could blame you for anything, and punishment would come swiftly. After recounting her day, she would tells us about the plans. These Twelve Step Programs to get clean that they drilled into their heads to the point of memorization. Every time we visited, she would recount the steps. The greatest travesty of all was the first time we brought my niece of four to see her mom. Five months without even the thought of drugs, that’s how long my sister was clean. We followed the steps and entered the cafeteria, and in walked my sister. My niece bolted from my side to her, and nothing has ever hurt my more than having to drag her screaming away from her mom. One touch would deny us visits for a month. You never know heartbreak until you watch both mother and daughter cry when denied a simple hug.
I am not advocating for the abolishment of the Drug Court System, I am merely saying that it needs help. Seventy-five percent of Drug Court graduates remain arrest-free, so there is clear evidence that this system works. I personally know several people either in or out of Drug Court who a perfectly clean and haven’t had a thought otherwise. Not to mention that Drug Courts save tax dollars that would go to storing inmates who need help, not bars. Drug Court even helps mend families, as is clear with my sister and her daughter of four years. This system works wonders, but only if you can endure it.
Let me remind you, these are all real occurrences that happened. Every word is truth. My sister has since graduated from the program and left behind that cursed place forever, but the scars remain. She has been clean for almost 2 years now, and relapses have been limited, only happening after a traumatic event. The program works, and 75% of graduates can agree. This is a good program, it just needs better management. We need you, President of America, to do something. Send in health inspectors regularly, alongside therapists for those who need this extra help. Make sure no person must endure these conditions.
Make sure a five months clean woman can hug her daughter.
With deepest hopes for change,
"NADCP." Home. NADCP, 2016. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.