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Treatment available to some in Cleveland who face drug charges

Many people addicted to drugs or alcohol wish they could go back and never take their first drink or use drugs for the first time. Addiction is a vicious cycle that can ruin a person's personal and professional life. What is worse is that an addict may end up facing drug charges.

The Cleveland Drug Court recognizes that some people need help more than incarceration. For those selected, a treatment program is available. Over the program's 16-year life, over 1,300 people successfully completed the class.

When an individual successfully completes the program, the drug charges on which he or she was convicted are expunged. The cases are erased or removed completely from a person's criminal record as if they never existed. This allows an individual the chance at a normal life.

For instance, one of the 24 graduates of the most recent class has the freedom to join the military, which would not have been possible if his drug offenses remained on his record. As part of the ceremony, each participant tells his or her story and the effect the program had on him or her. This class's guest speaker did not participate in the Cleveland Drug Court, but broke free from his addictions 23 years ago.

Just because a person is arrested on drug charges does not mean he or she is guilty or a danger to society. Sometimes, an individual is a prisoner of addiction, and justice would be better served through attending this program than sitting in a jail cell. If the court can be convinced that treatment is the best option for someone, not only will that person have the opportunity to get clean and sober, but also to have the chance to start over with a clean record.

Source: newsnet5.com, Cleveland drug court graduates go through treatment program rather than jail time, Tom Livingston, Feb. 12, 2014

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