Treatment court looks to bring healing to McDonald County area families

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MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — Some people believe experiencing treatment court is just a legal proceeding, but for many, it forms stable relationships with others that last a lifetime.

“They are always bragging, ‘Hey this, is my child I just had,’ ‘This is my new wife.’ Whatever the case may be, it’s very rewarding to see them out just in the general public,” explained Associate Circuit Court Judge John LePage.

LePage has been involved with treatment court for more than 15 years. He says he sees people going through substance recovery outside of treatment on a daily basis.

“I see them at school events, I see them shopping for groceries, I see them in church on Sundays,” LePage added. “They are in our neighborhood and they are in our community as we are.”

If an adult or child chooses to stop abusing substances and follow through treatment court, each will be given a provider and go to court every 2 weeks. Once one completes the program and follows regulations, officials believe they are able to impact society in a positive way.

“We had a young man who went to college and he sent graduation invitations. That’s just really rewarding knowing you had a little piece of knowing of helping that person get to where they are today,” said treatment court administrator Alissa Hendricks.

Officials work with the individual’s need to recover not only from substances, but also mental health and domestic violence concerns. Treating someone goes beyond the drug — its about one’s environment and the positive relationships they make.

“It’s so much than just being sober — it’s about a complete lifestyle change,” Hendricks explained.

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