logoTinyContact: Danielle Lamson
Communications Manager
610 Campus Drive
Abingdon, VA 24210

August 30, 2012

ABINGDON, VA (August 30, 2012) – Highlands Community Services, the sole treatment provider for the Washington County Drug Recovery Education and Monitoring (DREAM) Court, is pleased to announce its first graduation. On September 7, 2012 – Ms. Bridget Matney will successfully complete the program as the court celebrates its first year of operation and as our nation celebrates National Recovery Month.

Ms. Bridget Matney says that the Court has made a true difference in her life. She explains, “It holds you accountable to be at all the meetings, groups, to get a job…for all your actions. If the drug court were not available I would likely be sent to prison. The program gave me the option to come home, be a mother to my children, and be a productive member of society. It’s not easy, but the program will work if you let it work. The program has a lot to offer. Probation services and Highlands Community Services offer a lot to help you get your life back on track.”

The Washington County Drug Court Program began operating on September 2, 2011. It is a therapeutic court program that seeks to help troubled individuals discover truth, honesty, and accountability in their own lives and ultimately break free of the addictions and behaviors that have resulted in their involvement in the criminal justice system and in a reduced quality of life.

The court is a three phase program (12 to 24 months) for adult high risk/high needs criminal offenders who are experiencing drug and/or alcohol dependence problems with felony drug or drug related charges before the Circuit Court including probation violations. The program requires frequent court appearances, random drug and alcohol screenings, individualized substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, and intensive supervision including curfews.

Initially participants are in substance abuse group counseling three evenings a week and required to attend NA/AA once a week. They also attend individual sessions as needed, abide by a curfew monitored with Anytrax or GPS, and submit to at least two random urine drug screens each week. All treatment services are provided by Highlands Community Services and probation supervision is provided by District 17 Probation and Parole. Highlands Community Services places the drug court participants in Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) groups which is a 12-Step outpatient group therapy model especially designed to restructure the cognitive processes of participants based on the principles of MRT. Upon completion of the MRT groups participants will transition into other groups such as a Healthy Relationship Group, Gender Specific Support Group, Aftercare Group, Family Group, or Individual/Family Therapy depending on the needs of each individual. As participants progress through the phases, less treatment is required if they remain drug free and are compliant with the program.

Rebecca Holmes, Program Evaluator and Director of Outpatient Services for Highlands Community Services states that, “Drug courts are indeed a financially viable alternative to incarceration, but the impact is not just financial. By including both mental health and substance abuse treatment, the Washington County Drug Court Program helps individuals achieve a level of stability that can further enable recovery on a long term basis. It is important to acknowledge that we are also impacting the level of trauma that individuals must repeatedly face in their lives by offering an opportunity for change. The majority of individuals struggling with mental health and substance use issues have an overwhelming percentage of past trauma that has impacted their lives.”

Highlands Community Services is a multi-faceted Community Service Board providing Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Intellectual Disability services to the residents of Bristol and Washington County, VA. To learn more about our services, call 276.525.1550 or log onto www.highlandscsb.org for general HCS information.

National Recovery Month was proclaimed by President Barack Obama in 2011 and is intended to, “Pay tribute to the transforming power of recovery, which will continue to heal individuals and communities across our country.” Log onto www.recoverymonth.gov for more information.


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