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CODAC Member Stephanie O. (C) celebrates her commencement from the Drug Alternative to Prison Program (DTAP) program.

"It wasn't that many years ago that your drug of choice was your friend — then your best friend — then your only friend — then your worst nightmare," says Chief Probation Officer David Sanders to the fourteen graduates of the Drug Court and Drug Alternative to Prison (DTAP) programs on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.

A room filled with friends, family, sponsors, and supportive community members celebrated this important occasion. Among the graduating group were three CODAC members completing their DTAP requirements.

Programs such as this allow offenders to break the cycle of repeated incarceration by seeking intensive drug treatment alongside wraparound support services, which includes obtaining higher education, job training, transitional housing support, probation monitoring and regular court hearings. This allows members to address the root issues of their addiction, fulfill legal requirements and become productive members of the community.

Since the program's implementation in 2007, there have been 400 graduates. Sanders states that clients involved in these programs stay in treatment longer than others and face a 40% lower chance of recidivism.

Opening speaker and CODAC Peer Support Specialist Michael Kennedy is living proof.

"Prior to joining DTAP, the only thing I could do for six years consecutively is a prison sentence," he shares. Michael was in the first graduating class of the DTAP program and now gives back to those affected by addiction through peer support.

The three CODAC members who commenced from the program have also made significant strides in their recovery since starting DTAP.

"This program has a treatment-first approach that has given them the opportunity to heal and grow from their past rather than face incarceration. All three of these women have successfully reunited with their families, have independent housing, and are giving back to the community," shares Recovery Coach Rebekah Sewing.

A network of providers sets up clients for success. Through their own hard work, they are supported by a team consisting of their probation officer, treatment providers, attorneys, and judges.

"Each of them worked hard each day to get to this point. It was a joy and an honor to be a part of their recovery journey," Rebekah says.