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A Brother’s Tale of Addiction

Oct 16, 2012
(Cleveland) – The 41st Graduation Ceremony of the Greater Cleveland Drug Court under the direction of Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Anita Laster Mays and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge David Matia took place Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. in the Cuyahoga County Jury Assembly Room.

Contact:  Ed "Flash" Ferenc, Public information Officer
              Cleveland Municipal Court                   
              216-664-6787   216-857-7420
              ference@cmcoh.org


(Cleveland) – The 41st Graduation Ceremony of the Greater Cleveland Drug Court under the direction of Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Anita Laster Mays and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge David Matia took place Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. in the Cuyahoga County Jury Assembly Room.

A total of 39 people graduated, 31 from the county program and eight with the city, which brings to 1,253 the number of people who successfully completed the program since it began 14 years ago.  Of that number, almost 80% remain sober and drug-free.

The keynote speaker was Donald Laster, brother of Judge Laster Mays.  A talented football player at John Adams, Don received a scholarship to play at Grambling State. During the 1980-81 football season, he suffered a devastating injury to his left shoulder and was prescribed opiates for pain.  He then tore his knee, an injury that ended his career.  Surgery was required and more opiates were prescribed. Don was hooked and started buying pills on the street, which lead to criminal charges and 12 months in a state facility.  After getting out in 1985, Donald started hanging with the same people and going to the same old places and he added crack cocaine to his list of drugs being used. 

“I remember how it affected my whole family. My sisters would come looking for me, but all I was interested in was where my next high was coming from,” he said.

Eventually, Don Laster found his way to treatment where he really learned about addiction and himself. 

“What you are is God’s gift to you.  What you make of yourself is your gift to God.” 

In 1994, Donald started his own construction company and took pride in hiring and training felons.  When the housing market crumbled, he purchased a bar and grille that is now managed by a friend. Today Don Laster is the father of two sons and a daughter and is extremely happy to have kept his family intact. 

The Drug Court Program is a sanction-based yearlong program that emphasizes treatment and accountability.  Should a participant fail a drug test, or is otherwise non-compliant, a penalty is imposed.  The Greater Cleveland Drug Court was created in l998 under the direction of the Honorable Larry A. Jones and taken over in 2009 by Judge Mays.  The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court became a partner in the program later that year.

Judge Anita Laster Mays and Donald Laster



Keynote Speaker Donald Laster

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