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Drug court celebrates graduating class

Glenna Brooker and Tracy Lamp graduated from the Compass Drug Court Monday at the Washington County Courthouse. (Photo Michele Newbanks)

The first two graduates of the Compass Drug Court were celebrated Monday afternoon at the Washington County Courthouse.

Graduates Tracy Lamp, 44, and Glenna Brooker, 40, both of Marietta, spoke of their 17-month journey from years of abusing methamphetamine to more than a year of sobriety.

The drug court helps high-risk, high-need individuals. The people who want to go into the program go through an Ohio Risk Assessment Survey and they have to score a medium or higher. They also have to have a score of 2.1 or higher through an assessment of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

The program is set up to where the people have to work through five phases, which take a minimum of 14 months.

Lamp, who had been using methamphetamine for about six years, was the first to get her certificate for graduating the program.

Compass Drug Court’s first graduate, Tracy Lamp, receives a certificate from Judge Mark Kerenyi Monday afternoon. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

“Mentally, it was draining. Things don’t make sense, but then one day, it just clicks,” she said.

She was in drug court for 246 days and has been sober for 493 days.

As part of her community project, she is holding Dunking for Donations from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 21 in the AmeriCorps parking lot. Donations will be given to Brandi’s Legacy, a female residential drug recovery center.

During her presentation, Lamp showed side-by-side photos of her before drug court and after she was finished.

There was a marked difference in her appearance. Today, she’s full of enthusiasm for her sober life.

Glenna Brooker receives a certificate from Judge Mark Kerenyi during Monday afternoon’s graduation. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

“If I didn’t have this program, I wouldn’t be here,” she said.

Now, she’s getting her driver’s license, which she hasn’t had since 2001. She said she was trying to be a better mother and was making her own mother proud.

Her struggles with drugs began when she was 15. It started with drinking and smoking marijuana. Eventually, she moved to harder drugs. After her divorce, she said it was easier to deal with the breakup by being high.

In 2014, she was in a drug bust, and she was sentenced to 30 days in jail and one year of community control. Two weeks before her community control was up, she was again caught with drugs. When she went before the judge, she begged to go to drug court.

“You guys have been a huge part of my life for the last 17 months,” she said. “I’ve been 16 months clean for the first time ever.”

After the ceremony, she said she was nervous, excited and scared.

“I’m feeling all the emotions I didn’t feel before,” she said. “I’m ready to have my life back.”

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark Kerenyi heads up the drug court, which meets every Monday in his courtroom.

“When they first entered the program, they were addicts and a drain on our community,” he said. “Since then, they have become an absolute asset to the community.”

He said both women are gainfully employed and are active in the recovery community.

“They are not only helping those in drug court, but they are helping others who aren’t going through it,” he said.

The second graduate also was emotional when she went before the packed courtroom.

“I am a recovering addict called Glenna Brooker,” she said.

She is 491 days sober and landed in drug court after using methamphetamine.

Brooker showed a video of the journey she’s taken over the last 17 months and at the end, she was teary-eyed as she read a list of people she wanted to thank. She stopped briefly to say “I’m a mess here.”

She said she didn’t want to talk about her past struggles. Instead, she talked about finding a higher power.

“It’s a game changer,” she said.

Other clients from drug court were on hand to witness two of their own graduating.

“Hold on. The best is yet to come. You’ve got to get to the other side,” Brooker told them.

The hard work over the last 17 months was a “miserably amazing ride.”

Among the hardest parts of the journey was holding onto her emotions, especially knowing she’s leaving everything she’s known for the last 17 months.

“Knowing for the first time in my adult life that I can do this,” she said

Kerenyi said it was great to see families there to support the graduates.

“I think their families got tired of their addictions,” he said. “That’s the biggest part. Being accepted back by families and communities.”

He said getting to see them graduate was fantastic.

“It’s probably one of my best days,” he said. “I enjoy seeing people recover. It’s better than sending people to prison.”

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