Statewide relay ends in Cass CountyPublished 4:37pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The statewide Relay for Recovery through the Michigan Association of Drug Court Professionals ended its near two-week trek Wednesday at the Cass County Law and Courts Building in Cassopolis.
Motorcycle riders from numerous cities and counties in Michigan began the relay May 18 in an effort to bring awareness and understanding to Michigan’s drug court systems. Cass County’s Family Treatment Court, presided over by Judge Sue Dobrich, was the last stop on the relay where the Michigan Association of Drug Court Professionals (MADCP) flag was presented. In addition to the presentation of the flag and marking the end of the statewide relay, the court also celebrated the graduation of Britia Anderson, of Cassopolis, who completed the drug court program and beat her addiction.
“It’s like seeing your daughter graduate from high school,” Dobrich said. “Each stop on the relay also celebrated another graduate who completed a treatment program through Michigan’s drug courts.”
Barb Howes, program coordinator for the county’s Family Treatment Court, said she was happy to have a larger issue connected to a local success.
“I enjoy showing the community what drug court does,” Howes said. “It’s a strange hybrid of addiction treatment and justice that we bring together to help fix the problem.”
Howes also said Cass County’s Family Treatment Court has maintained an 80 percent success rate with meth addicts and offenders. Overall, they have attained a 65 percent success rate.
“Those percentages mean that’s the number of offenders who never return to the court or in handcuffs,” Howes said. “I think it’s really wonderful to see.”
Anderson, who worked with several professionals in the court system to maintain her sobriety, said Wednesday was a day she couldn’t believe had finally arrived.
“It was a journey, but it’s not over,” Anderson said. “I’m beginning another journey in my life now.”
After beating her addiction, Anderson was also reunited with her two children, Kayla and Christopher, during her graduation ceremony. She is attending Southwestern Michigan College and plans to become a drug addictions’ counselor.
“She has really turned her life around,” Howes said. “If she had kept on the same path, she was headed for prison.”
But Anderson said she feels reaching this point is nothing short of a miracle.
“I felt like everything was hopeless,” Anderson said. “To see where I am now, it feels really good.”