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For many petty criminals, life on the wrong side of the law is often spurred by bad choices directly associated with drug and alcohol addiction.
Sending those violators directly to jail, without rehabilitation plans, including a strong drug and alcohol recovery program, can do little to help many who, when out on the streets again, return to the same behaviors that put them in jail.
We commend those responsible for bringing a drug treatment court here to Brunswick County. Last week, the first session of drug treatment court got underway, under the direction of Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis.
While stern and enforcing the law, Lewis appeared sympathetic to the issues at hand and urged the first four participants to stay on track toward drug and alcohol dependency recovery.
For those who are in the program, if they meet all of its requirements they get the chance to stay out of jail and rebuild lives destroyed or damaged by drug and alcohol use.
But the program isn’t a walk in the park and it’s certainly no slap on the wrist for those involved.
Participants are required to remain drug and alcohol free, submit to routine drug and alcohol testing and meet with the drug court coordinator every week. They’ll also have to report to a probation officer, go to Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous meetings and agree to have his or her home searched on a weekly basis.
While submitting to the program requires participants to give up some of their basic freedoms, it’s a far cry from the alternative—being put in jail.
Kicking drug and alcohol addiction is no easy task. It will take an unwavering commitment from participants and the help of trained professionals to guide these individuals from a life of crime and dependency back to being law-abiding citizens.
Our fingers are crossed for those who have volunteered. We hope they, and others who follow, find much success and recovery. But for those who don’t, we support swift and just punishment, including sending those individuals to jail when other means fail.
But the battle to save lives from drugs isn’t just in the courtroom; it’s being played out daily on the streets.
Brunswick County drug enforcement officers and other law enforcement officials are doing their part. From traffic stops to targeting drug-traffic areas and important undercover operations, they play a vital role in helping reduce the drug problem here in our community.
Each day these men and women put their lives on the line to protect us all and hopefully they’ll have much success in saving lives. We thank them for their service to the community and wish them safety as they continue on this daunting journey.