BUCKHANNON — A very uplifting celebration was held for Jamie Wright in the Upshur County Circuit Courtroom Wednesday afternoon, to recognize his completion of the Drug Court Treatment Program. Wright graduated from the program, which is typically a year duration, but can be longer depending on the participant’s progression. Many of Wright’s friends and family, as well as his drug treatment team, gathered to celebrate his success with him.
Erika Morrison, Wright’s Drug Court Probation Officer, couldn’t be any prouder of his outcome. “This is why I do what I do, and it’s a rewarding experience to see those come out on top and fight something that’s been a part of their life for so long,” she explained. Morrison mentioned that there are a lot of misconceptions about the program and acknowledged that that the judicial system and these program participants don’t always have the best reputation. But despite how many may feel, Morrison and her colleagues hope to convey a better understanding of this treatment program because “there is a positive light that we have to the judicial system,” she stated.
The Drug Court Treatment Program was initiated in August of 2015, incorporating a combination of strict supervision through probation and intensive substance abuse treatment. Morrison explained that not only do they help people to become drug free, but they also get participants to invest in recovery and remain invested, thereby eliminating recidivism and creating productive members of society.
“We have had people reconnected with their children and their families. A lot of times they are getting their driver’s license back or obtaining housing for themselves in the program, and are required to have a full-time job,” Morrison stated. “We also just recently had an individual who received her high school diploma; that was a main objective for her. The majority of people that end up going to prison, you see the back in the criminal justice system and back in prison again. The idea is that through this program, they never do that again. We can treat them and treat the addiction, and hope to curb that lifestyle.” She also mentioned that among the individuals who have successfully completed the program, graduated and completed probation, she has yet to see any of them convicted of new felonies.
Wright said he has battled an 11-yearlong drug addiction and has never truly been in recovery until now, acknowledging that this is the longest he has ever been sober. “Faith, dedication, hard work and being real with yourself, and being honest – you have to work at it, and you can accomplish anything,” said Wright. He said he was overwhelmed and very thankful for all the support he has received along the way. “This is a huge step for me. The first big step in recovery for the rest of my life,” Wright stated.