Partnering to Save Lives

After more than a year in the Collier Drug Court program, Cory Webster maintains her sobriety through yoga, fitness, meditation and staying active in the recovery community.

A new three-year federal grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) will help more people like Cory Webster, a David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) client who sought treatment after spiraling into opioid addiction, find recovery. Cory, now sober for three years thanks to the treatment she received through the Collier County Drug Court program, got the help she needed to stay out of jail and live her best life.

“My underlying problem was that I was disconnected,” said Cory. “I felt unworthy and not loved. Once I realized I could be my authentic self, honest and comfortable in my own skin, I was then able to connect with others.”

Collier County Community and Human Services received the $500,000 grant to enhance the Drug Court program, help fight the addiction crisis and dramatically impact crime victims, children, families, first responders and communities at large.

Drug courts reduce recidivism and substance use among high-risk, high need participants and increase their likelihood of successful rehabilitation. These courts integrate evidence-based substance use disorder treatment, mandatory drug testing, sanctions and incentives, and transitional services in judicially supervised court settings.

Since 1999, Collier County has partnered with DLC, Collier County’s only comprehensive, not for-profit behavioral health provider serving children, adults and families, in collaboration with the 20th Judicial Circuit State’s Attorney’s Office and Public Defender’s Office, Florida Department of Corrections, Circuit Court, Office of Court Administration, and Collier County Sheriff ’s Office to implement Drug Court.

DLC provides the treatment services,which include access to case management, outpatient, inpatient and residential substance use and co-occurring mental health treatment, peer support, medication-assisted treatment and trauma-incident reduction.

Cory was referred to Drug Court after receiving her third DUI, nearly dying of an overdose behind the wheel, and facing prison.

“By then, I was tired of fighting,” said Cory. “I just surrendered to the process, and did everything they told me—group therapy, individual therapy, trauma therapy, all of it. I was at DLC almost every day for six months. They held me accountable, and they encouraged me. They helped me build a strong foundation for my recovery.”

Scott Burgess, DLC President and CEO and Honorable Janeice Martin who presides over the Collier County Drug Court program.

The grant funds will specifically help expand and provide more frequent drug testing; enhance data collection and evaluation; and enhance support through the addition of a Peer Support Specialist to the treatment team. The Peer Support specialist will help Drug Court enhance its Recovery-Oriented System of Care (ROSC)–an emerging best practice that utilizes individuals in recovery to develop a more complete network of recovering persons and families who support each other in personal, economic, housing and vocational development.

Cory credits peer support as essential to her recovery and success.

“I have a full life today with real, genuine relationships and friends,” shared Cory. “I live a life of abundance. My life today is infinitely better than I could have imagined.”

Increasing the capacity and effectiveness of the justice system response for persons experiencing serious mental illness and/or substance use dependence is one of six priorities outlined in Collier County’s new five-year strategic plan for mental health and addiction services. The Board of County Commissioners approved plan serves as a road map for community partners, donors and government leaders as they mobilize responses to address current and future challenges.

To support DLC or learn more, visit DavidLawrenceCenter.org or call 239-455-8500.

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