“Welcome to Heroin Court. Thanks for coming.”
Judge Tom Walsh oversees Brown County Wisconsin’s newest effort to combat the ever growing problem of heroin addiction. An off shoot of the drug court model many counties use, they’ve specifically called it “Heroin Court.” The city of Green Bay, WI is under Brown County jurisdiction and has experienced explosive growth in heroin possession, deaths, and overdoses in the last five years. The local government realized that instead of just locking people up in jails, they would give them an opportunity at treatment for heroin addiction.
So far Judge Walsh says that the results are nothing like he initially expected. He says at first he thought that he’d be dealing with people who stopped using, but would eventually return to getting high. He was worried that situation would force his hand into rendering sentences which would create a cycle of in-and-out of prison lives, with no hope for the future.
The judge says that most have stayed off heroin, have jobs, and are getting their lives back. The court is involved in a wide variety of community projects that help to raise money for the program and is also a way of giving back for the people trying to recover from this awful addiction. With the departments of probation, law enforcement, and treatment professionals he has a great outlook for the future.
“As big as the heroin problem has gotten, it requires a big solution. Heroin Court has been part of that solution,” says a proud Judge Walsh.
As specialists in addiction treatment for decades, the staff at Clearbrook knows that in order for an issue to be addressed it first must be recognized as a problem. Thank God the proper people and agencies are beginning to see it. We read about the devastation every day from addiction. It is also our job to report on the success stories and ideas that combat the addiction. Thank you to WBAY in Wisconsin for their story on this innovative idea to help people suffering from this disease and the choices they made have a chance to regain their lives and their dignity.