Kane drug court graduates break a leg and addiction
On Wednesday, participants in Kane County's Drug Rehabilitation Court hope to "break a leg" in addition to breaking their addictions.
Graduates and program participants will perform "It's a Drug Court Life" -- a take on the Jimmy Stewart classic "It's a Wonderful Life" -- as part of the latest drug court graduation ceremony.
The play, the third performed by graduates and the brainchild of Drug Court Supervisor Randy Reusch, is an example of how recovering addicts are using creative outlets as part of the healing and rehabilitation process.
"It's really cool. The participants in the play, they absolutely love it," said Carrie Thomas, Drug Court coordinator. "They enjoy being in the play and having that creative outlet and attention they may not have gotten in the past."
The first play was about an addict who relapsed. The second about a teenage girl who overdosed and died.
Participants also have other creative outlets as part of the 30-month intensive program, which includes counseling, random drug tests and frequent appearances before a judge to evaluate their progress.
In September 2011, participants displayed poetry, essays, drawing and paintings in drug court's first "Fine Art and Written Word Extravaganza" at the Kane County Judicial Center in St. Charles.
The next one is planned for Nov. 14, said Judge Patricia Piper Golden, who oversees the drug court.
Golden said officials were surprised at the response and interest from participants in a voluntary part of the 30-month intensive program. Golden did note that for participants to change their behavior, they often must change the people they hang out with as well.
"We hope with some of these activities, they are getting to know other ways to socialize and express themselves without being high," Golden said. "A lot of their work is about recovery, but it doesn't have to be. We all need outlets of expression and that is no less true with people who are dealing with this part of their lives."
The graduation ceremony begins at 5 p.m. at Geneva High School, 416 McKinley Ave., Geneva. Overall, 614 people have graduated from drug court since it was started in 2000. Wednesday will bring the total to 633 in 17 graduating classes.