TADCP Newsletter June 2013

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Volume 3, Issue 2
A Publication by the

June 2013

2013 Officers and Directors
Tennessee Association of Drug Court Professionals
President Mary Schneider Vice President Tracye Bryant Treasurer Brad Price Secretary Rick Taylor West Tennessee Director Angela Parkerson Middle Tennessee Director Marianne Schroer East Tennessee Director Judge Charles Cerny At Large Directors Ron Hanaver Kevin Batts Jill Barrett

The 23rd Judicial District Drug Court honored its 100th graduate, Ashley Lloyd, in a graduation ceremony on May 16, 2013 as part of National Drug Court month festivities. The Drug Court began serving the citizens of Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys, and Stewart Counties over 12 years ago. A packed courtroom watched as the Honorable Robert Burch presided over a traditional Drug Court session prior to the graduation. Those in attendance included Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe, District Attorney General Dan Alsobrooks, District Public Defender Jake Lockert, State Representative Mary Littleton, Ellen Abbott and Liz Ledbetter from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and TADCP Executive Director Marie Crosson. Commissioner Doug Varney of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services sent Ashley a very nice congratulatory letter. After the traditional court session, Judge Burch called Ashley to the front for a special presentation of a graduation certificate and plaque. He then gave Ashley a personal gift from himself, a beautiful, Special Moments bible. Ashley then spoke a few words from her heart. She thanked those in the courtroom, saying they were the loving family she needed during the past two years. She thanked God for moving her into recovery. She thanked the Drug Court team for showing her that there is a much better life and future for her. Following the ceremony, Ashley was surrounded by friends and family, congratulating her on her great accomplishment. It is a huge step toward her lifetime walk in sobriety!

Inside This Issue
Blount Woman’s Journey From Addict To Board Member 2 Eat The Street Food Truck Fest 3

Blount County Can’t Afford Not To Fund Drug Court 3 The President’s Corner 3

The 27th Judicial District Drug Court held a graduation ceremony on May 24th at the Obion County Courthouse in Union City, Tn. There were 14 graduates honored for their accomplishments in successfully completing the drug court program. The ceremony was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and was attended by approximately 150 family and friends of the participants as well as local government officials, drug court team members and drug court steering committee members. These 14 graduates bring the total number of participants that have graduated from the program since its inception in 2002 to 125. Guest speaker for the occasion was Delbert Boone, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on addiction and criminal behavior. He established this identity through his ability to consistently help drug offenders and substance abuse counselors understand the parallels between addiction and criminal behavior. He related his own struggles with addiction and incarceration to the graduating class. He congratulated them on their accomplishment and challenged them to remember and use what they had learned in the drug court program.

31st Judicial District Graduation 4 Membership Application 4

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Tennessee Association of Drug Court Professionals

“I was playing the poor, pitiful Karla card. I was sad because I wanted to fix it, and for the first time in my life, I couldn’t.” She had prescription narcotics left over from childbirth, and in an attempt to get a few hours of restful sleep one night, she took some. Whatever biological marker lurked within was instantly pushed into the “on” position, and her addiction soon manifested itself with frightening force. “They gave me energy,” she said. “I could take them and conquer the world. And when you add that into a situation where you feel helpless, the pills give you false hope. It was a recipe for disaster.” “For a fleeting moment there, it would have been real easy to stay in Florida, or take Keaton and just go, because I was terrified,” she said. “But what else was I going to do?” She returned home and made preparations to report to the jail. The night before, unable to sleep, she tip-toed into her son’s bedroom and watched the gentle rise and fall of his chest as he slept. Her tormented mind was a storm of fear and dread. “People think 67 days isn’t a long time, but being a mom and having been through all that with him, I was terrified,” she said. “I kept thinking, ‘What if he forgets me? What if he thinks I’ve left him? What if he thinks I don’t love him anymore?’”

Photo by TOM SHERLIN | THE DAILY TIMES Karla Sells-Gourley, once a participant in the Blount County Drug Court program, is now on the board of the program’s foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for rehabilitating repeat nonviolent drug offenders in the community.

‘Nobody knew’
‘Really was a blessing’
The first warning sign was when she ran out of Her time in jail — which began with stripping off the original prescription. That fleeting moment of her street clothes and being given lice shampoo durpanic seized, and she soon turned to shady online ing intake — wasn’t easy. She refused to let family pharmaceutical sites that charged $400 per prescripmembers bring Keaton to visit her, for fear he would tion. The entire time, she continued to sell real estate be traumatized by seeing his mother behind glass and maintain a front of domestic bliss. and unable to embrace her. She called home once a “Nobody knew,” she said. “It was a secret. I week. She prayed. And she began the next phase of thought that if I didn’t take them, if I didn’t have her self-improvement. them, then I couldn’t cope. And if I couldn’t cope, I “It really was a blessing for me, because it took would be a failure.” me out of all the pressure and isolated me and made She convinced a physician friend to write her a me focus on myself,” she said. “I made friendships prescription, and soon she began altering the prein there, too, because I was no different than they scriptions. She remembers clearly the first time she were except for family support and a little bit of successfully had one filled: the heart-pounding terror money. And in the end, none of that matters. All you of waiting at the pharmacy counter, and the exhilahave in this life is God and family, and that’s all that rating thrill of walking out with the pills. matters.” “You live in such short-term little periods,” she After her release, said. “There’s not much of a future, Drug Court served as because your future is the next 20 “It really was a blessing her anchor. She days until you run out of pills again. for me, because it took me returned to work withBy the grace of God, I didn’t have an in a week of her actual street dealer, or I would be out of all the pressure and release; in 2011, she dead. isolated me and made me advocated for the “Nobody wanted to quit more appointment of Tammy than me, I just wasn’t capable of it. focus on myself.” Harrington — the It was overwhelming. I would try for assistant district attora day or two, and then I would get ney general who prosecuted her case — to the sick. People have asked me, ‘Didn’t you love your Circuit Court bench. son more than that?’ But it had nothing to do with “At that time, it would have been super-easy for him. You simply can’t, because you’re incapable.” me to fall off the wagon,” she said. “I’d like to think I would have stayed on my path, but I can’t say for End of the road certain.” These days, she’s more successful than ever — Like all addicts, Sells-Gourley eventually came to Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace announced last the end of her road when the 5th Judicial District week she was the top closing agent for the first quarDrug Task Force was alerted to her prescription ter of 2013 — in her professional life. Through scheme. They questioned her in the parking lot of work, commitment and time, she and her husband CVS and told her they would be back in touch. are closer than ever and now have another son — Despite her denials on the spot, she drove home with Kollin, 2. And she serves as a member of the nona sense of both dread and relief. profit Blount County Drug Court Foundation, the Her first call was to her husband; her second, to organization dedicated to providing financial support her mother. They both rushed to her side, and Sellsand publicity for the very program of which she was Gourley admitted she needed help. She left for a once a part. Florida rehabilitation program that day. “It makes me feel good, and I’m honored to do It would be a year before charges were eventually it,” she said. “For me personally, the most important filed against her, and during that time, she worked thing in life is to have a purpose, and maybe I went diligently on herself. In 2009, however, her attorney, through what I went through to help others and show Joe Costner, called. She was on vacation in Florida that people can change and come out on the other when he gave her the news: Face trial, or agree to side. Anybody can. It’s not a death sentence. Life Drug Court, which would include more than two will go on.” months in jail.

By Steve Wildsmith | ([email protected]) The last time Karla Sells-Gourley was on the front page of The Daily Times, she was an inmate at the Blount County Jail. As a gesture of kindness, a corrections officer allowed her to read the story. Local Realtor charged with three counts of prescription fraud — it was headline news and would be one of the most-viewed stories on The Daily Times website for 2009. She wasn’t allowed to keep the paper; all she took back to her cell was the knowledge that her ugly secret was now public knowledge, and upon her release she’d face judgment, scrutiny and public condemnation. After 67 days, she was released, and so began the long journey back for the William Blount High School graduate and Blount County native. Thanks to the Blount County Drug Court program, she didn’t make that journey alone. “It gave me something to focus on that’s positive,” she told The Daily Times recently. “It allowed me to prove myself through my actions rather than running my mouth. I learned good things will happen when you’re doing the right thing, and I realized that if I can get through that, I can make it through anything.” Acceptance, powerlessness, humility, honesty, willingness, faith: Such spiritual principles are foundation stones for a life in recovery, and through therapy, Drug Court, God and family, Sells-Gourley has embraced them — perhaps more so than she ever did before. Looking back, she can see how her inability to accept — her desire to do and to fix and to make right — led to her addiction.

The trigger
Her son, Keaton, was born in 2007. When he was 3 months old, he was diagnosed with craniosyntosis, meaning his skull bones had fused together prematurely. Sells-Gourley and her husband, Kevin, went from Children’s Hospital in Knoxville to Erlanger in Chattanooga, where the first meeting with doctors played out like a horror movie, she recalls. “I just remember them saying it would be a massive surgery, that they would have to peel his face off, and they gave me a book that had these graphic details of this surgery,” she said. “I became consumed with it. If I looked at it once, I looked at it a million times, and the more I looked, the madder I got — at God, at other people who had healthy kids.

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Tennessee Association of Drug Court Professionals

More than 25 of the area’s most popular food trucks came together on May 10th in downtown Franklin for the second Eat the Street Fundraiser benefiting the 21st Drug Court. In addition to noshing on the varied culinary offerings created from mobile kitchens, attendees enjoyed live music and a kids area. The event lasted from 4:00 until 8:00 pm with a special event at the Franklin Theatre starting at 7:00. The Theatre event included live music, a silent auction followed by a movie. Puckett’s Grocery, one of the food trucks involved in the event, stated. “We got involved because it is a great cause and we have worked with (drug court coordinator) Marianne Schroer, who is a wonderful lady, and the 21st Drug Court before”, said Max Stephenson, Jr., General Manager at Puckett’s. “We got our new food truck last year so being involved in this event was a no brainer for us.” This year‚s event was a big success with over 6,000 people in attendance! It served the dual purpose of raising awareness and money for the 21st Drug Court program.


Do not read this. Not unless you can risk getting hooked — hooked into something that could do more for Blount County than anything you’ve ever done before. Not unless you understand the tremulous truth behind this phrase of unknown origin: “There but for the grace of God, go I.” On May 1, The Daily Times published a Special Drug Court Section. It was the endeavor of a staff writer who knows whereof he speaks. And speak he does. Weekend Editor Steve Wildsmith writes regularly of his own continuing recovery from substance abuse in his very personal column, Just For Today. His honesty in baring his demons allows him to gain the trust of others who’ve pulled themselves from the hellish depths of addiction. Karla Sells-Gourley is one of those faithful. On the front page of that edition of The Times, Wildsmith wrote the centerpiece story under the headline Redemption Song. The story highlighted the life path of Sells-Gourley, a journey that almost ended in the quicksand of prescription drug addiction. The photograph with the story shows a smiling SellsGourley, standing on a deck overlooking the Pistol Creek lake in Maryville’s Bicentennial Greenbelt Park. She looks like a smartly dressed model posing for a fashion catalog. That wasn’t the first time Sells-Gourley made Page 1A. There wasn’t anything pretty about the first time. In 2009, her story was topped with these words: Local Realtor charged with three counts of prescription fraud. She read the headline while inside the Blount County Jail. Today, thanks to her perseverance, her determination, her courage, she is in recovery. She’s also back with her family, back at work, and giving back by serving on the Blount County Drug Court Foundation. Thanks to the Drug Court, Blount County native SellsGourley is an active contributor to her community. She, too, knows whereof she speaks. Like Wildsmith, she’s been there, done that — and still truckin’ one day at a time. As Sells-Gourley told Wildsmith: “Maybe I went through what I went through to help others and show that people can change and come out on the other side. Anybody can. It’s not a death sentence. Life will go on.”

Tennessee Recovery Courts. Sounds upbeat and positive, doesn’t it? At the Coordinators’ Conference, Commissioner Varney met with us. DMHSAS is encouraging us to call ourselves "recovery courts". This puts the emphasis on recovery, which is positive, instead of drugs, which has a negative connotation. We were even given some goodies with Tennessee Recovery Courts on it to encourage our use of this term. I presented this to my staff at our staff meeting and they like it and agree it is a better term. So we are changing our letterhead, name, etc. to reflect this change. Our administrative assistant started answering the phone with "Recovery Court" and got some hang-ups. So it will be an adjustment! But we thank DMHSAS for putting thought into how to better present ourselves to the public and to the legislators. DMHSAS definitely has our backs! Another thing that was really obvious at the Coordinators’ Conference is there is a lot of change going on in our recovery courts across the state. We had at least two coordinators that had been on the job less than a week. There were lots of new Sure it can. But there’s no guarantee the Drug Court will. faces that had come on board since the last conferFounded with the aid of a federal grant of almost $400,000 ence a year ago. In the next five years we will be awarded in 1998, the Drug Court — just like its clients — losing some of our veteran coordinators to retirehas gone through hard times. Grants run out. Recession hits ment. So once again that old adage is true….the revenues. Budgets get squeezed. Bottom line: The Drug only thing that is constant is change. Court has exceeded its fund balance and come up $27,000 But with change comes opportunity! I continue short. to be impressed by DMHSAS and their efforts to The dad-gummed stupid part about that is the Drug Court, aside from saving lives from ruination, saves dollars find ways to support our courts. The Problem by the truckload — far more than $27,000. Solving TN-WITS database will be a huge adjustTake an example: Three women in the Drug Court proment for all of us, but it means we no longer have gram gave birth to babies who likely would have been born to do State Reports! We will also be able to run addicted. Cost of medical care for three baby addicts: any number of reports that our stakeholders may be $750,000. Based on information from the National Institute on Drug interested in. And Commissioner Varney has the Abuse, substance abuse costs Blount County more than $100 ear of the Governor, and he is actually listening! million annually. Law enforcement officials estimate 85 per- So, yes, the future could be a rollercoaster ride, but cent or more of crimes committed in the county are drughang on, because the fun is just starting!


related. There are skeptics. There are those who believe addiction is a symptom of personal weakness or moral depravation. There those suspicious of a program that can count more failures than successes. Amy Galyon thought that, too. She investigated child abuse cases for the Department of Human Services and for the Blount County Sheriff’s Office. She worked for Blount County Probation. She visited drug-addicted children in the hospital and thought the worst of their parents. “I thought they were bad. I thought they were bad people, they made bad choices, and they needed to rot away underneath a jail cell somewhere for the rest of their lives.” Then Galyon was named director of the Blount County Drug Court program in 2010 to get it back on track. Her new job was a revelation. “Our biggest challenge? People not understanding addiction as a disease and not looking at it as a disease. Yes, that disease causes bad choices; but we can address the bad choices; it just takes time and the willingness to change perspectives.” You were warned not to read this. But since you’ve gotten this far, do this: Log onto http://www.blountcountydrugcourtfoundation.org . Find out what you can do for Blount County. Double-dog dare ya.

Regards, Mary Schneider, LAPSW



• • •


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Tennessee Association of Drug Court Professionals

Tuesday, April 23, 2013, the 31st Judicial District Adult Treatment Court Collaborative (ATCC) / Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) / Drug Court Program recognized 15 individuals for completing the intensive supervision and treatment program, during graduation ceremonies. Since becoming operational in July 2004, the 31st Judicial District ATCC / DWI / Drug Court Program, which serves Van Buren and Warren County, has had 79 (not counting the current 15 graduates) individuals complete the program successfully. The ATCC / DWI / Drug Court Program boasts an 82% success percentage for the graduates. This translates into 64 individuals who graduated, have not re-offended.

A one-year membership to TADCP is $25 per person. An organizational membership from 1/01/2013 - 12/31/2013 is $200 for 2-10 members and $10 for each additional member greater than 10. Please make checks payable to TADCP.
Is this application for an individual membership or orgranizational membership? Individual ❑ Organizational ❑ Please specify the membership organization_______________________________________________________
1. Primary contact person Name Title Organization Drug Court Mailing Address City, State, ZIP Phone Number Fax Number E-Mail Address

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P.O. Box 639 McMinnville, TN 37111

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