Community supports drug court participants

“There are just too many people dying.”

That was the lament from moderator Doug Oplinger, with Your Voice Ohio, as he hosted one of the Your Voice MOV events over the summer.

When The Marietta Times agreed to participate in the Your Voice MOV project, it was out of a sense that our community must throw out the old ways of dealing with the substance abuse crisis that has gripped it — we must do anything we can to tackle the problem.

Now, the first participants are making their way through Washington County’s new drug court program, and we are making a choice. That choice is borne partly out of the memories of those who talked to us about the stigma associated with drug addiction and attempts at recovery, and partly out of consideration of the advice of professionals.

Though they are legally available to us to do so, we will not be printing the names of those who volunteer to enter drug court — who have chosen a path that might help them beat this addiction and become productive, healthy members of our community again. There are caveats, of course: Should an offender be ejected from the program and returned to traditional sentencing; should the court offer to us the names of graduates celebrating completion of the program; or should a participant come to us with a desire to tell his or her story, we may print the names.

As Jason Varney, vice president of correctional programs, said back in August, when the idea of a drug court was being pitched, “To be admitted into this kind of program they voluntarily give up many rights.” It is not an easy decision to make.

We do not want to make it any more difficult.

“From my experience, a drug court is a community program,” Varney said in August. “It takes all of you to make this work.”

Congratulations, then, to those embarking on the journey now. The community — all of us — is behind you.

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