Brunswick County Superior Court holds drug court graduation

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By Sam Hickman

 Brunswick County Superior Court held its treatment courts graduation ceremony Thursday, Aug. 29, as graduates from drug court, mental health court and DWI court were honored before Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis.

Leland Police Detective Patrick McGowan urged each of the 13 graduates to “show people what you’re capable of.” He told them they didn’t have to go back where they came from and “they’d come too far to turn back now.”

McGowan said the graduates were responsible for putting forth the effort, but if they did, they “no longer had to be a warning for anybody else.” The graduates were encouraged to lead by example and be an inspiration to others.

“Getting sober is the easy part; staying sober is the most challenging part,” he said. “Life is not about you falling down. It’s about how you respond after you get up.”

The trend was for officers to push drug abusers away when he first entered law enforcement, McGowan said, but the drug court program that has been implemented by Brunswick County allows officers to be more receptive to those people.

“It allows us to be people first,” he said.

Lewis encouraged the graduates to make their own opportunities and not be burdened by their histories.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Thomas, who prosecutes most of the felony drug cases in Brunswick County, said it’s a misconception that felons won’t be able to be productive citizens and hold steady jobs.

“That’s simply not the case,” Thomas said. “I have a close friend who got a felony several years ago and now he owns his own company and oversees another.”

This year’s graduates included Joseph Gaskins, Gabriel Dial, Douglass Bartlett, Timothy Griffin, Patrick Hough, Tanya Powers, Joshua Carlisle, Kristen Watts, Lectoria Smith and Steve Dunn. Other graduates asked the Beacon not to name them in this story.


Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or shickman@brunswickbeacon.com.