The National Association of Drug Court Professionals has launched a cross-country motorcycle tour to highlight the success of the nation's Drug Courts, and that tour joined local Drug Courts Sunday for a celebration.
The All Rise America National Motorcycle Relay for Recovery began in Santa Ana, Calif., on May 1. From there, the tour traveled through California, Arizona, and New Mexico. It arrived at Tripp's Harley Davidson in Amarillo on Sunday after stopping in Albuquerque. Law enforcement, veterans, Drug Court graduates, probation officers and judges ride with the tour along the way.
Amarillo is among the 25 cities on the tour's calendar due to the success of the local Drug Court programs.
"You have treatment professionals and justice professionals coming together to use the leverage of the court to keep addicted people in treatment long enough to be successful," NADCP Director of Communications Chris Deutsch stated. "So, they're closely collaborating with one another. They're individualizing treatment programs to make sure people get the help they need. And the results speak for themselves. I mean, these programs are some of the best in the country."
Drug court programs offer help to those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Through the programs, participants do community service, maintain jobs and get the counseling they need. Good behavior is rewarded with fewer service hours or shortened probation periods. And when it is all said and done, the program graduates are given the opportunity to live the life they once took for granted.
"All I ever thought about was drinking and getting high," Program Graduate Anthony Goddard stated, "and today, it's just not like that at all. I started going to school to be a drug and alcohol counselor. You know, I get to be around my family all the time and it's just an amazing deal."
Many of the graduates continue to support the program in hopes of giving back the help they once received.
"It's a means of being held accountable for your previous actions which got you there to begin with," Program Graduate Lee Ballard said. "And, if anything, it helps you to establish a foundation, a means of living life the right way."
181st District Court Judge John Board has seen more than his fair share of drug and alcohol addicts, and according to him, the program continues to be a success.
"We've seen just incredible stories. There were some people here today that are graduates that have been out for maybe a year and are still clean and sober and productive and have jobs now, and have reunited with their families."
A graduation ceremony will be held Monday for the men and women of Potter, Randall, Armstrong and Lubbock counties.
The All Rise America tour will continue its cross-country track through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. It will conclude in Washington D.C. on May 24.
The All Rise Gavel is passed to a new group of riders at each stop as a symbol of the collective impact of Drug Courts and a reminder that when one person rises out of addiction and finds recovery, "We All Rise."
Click here to visit the All Rise Facebook page.