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Former Vietnam Vet Talks to Graduates about Addiction

Ed "Flash" Ferenc
Feb 13, 2014
(Cleveland) – The 45th Graduation Ceremony of the Greater Cleveland Drug Court under the direction of Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Anita Laster Mays took place Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. at Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Jury Assembly Room.
Contact:  Ed Ferenc, Public Information Officer                                         
                Cleveland Municipal Court
                216 664 6787   216 789 2597

“I started with beer and ended up on heroin.”

(Cleveland) – The 45th Graduation Ceremony of the Greater Cleveland Drug Court under the direction of Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Anita Laster Mays took place Wednesday, February 12th at 4:30 p.m. at the Cuyahoga County Jury Assembly Room, located on the fourth floor of the Justice Center.

A total of 27 people graduated, which brings the total number of people who successfully completed the program to 1,379 since it began 16 years ago.  Of that number, almost 80% remain sober and drug-free.

“It certainly has been a rewarding experience for me to see how many people have been willing to confront this problem, get the help they need and move on with their life to once again become productive citizens,” said Judge Mays.  

 
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was the Reverend Lovel Henderson, a Vietnam Vet who struggled with drugs for almost 25 years, costing him three marriages and plenty of time in jail.

“I started with beer and ended up on heroin. With the grace of God, I finally got help at the VA hospital and ended up there working as a service officer helping fellow other vets deal with addiction,” he said.

Rev. Henderson has since retired from the VA, and with 23 years of sobriety behind him, he runs a veterans counseling center on the east side. 

 The Drug Court Program is a sanction-based year-long program that emphasizes treatment and accountability.  Should a participant fail a drug test, or is otherwise non-compliant, a sanction is imposed.  The Greater Cleveland Drug Court was created in 1998 under the direction of the Honorable Larry A. Jones and was taken over in 2009 by Judge Mays.

Learn more about his event:

cleveland.com - http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/02/cleveland_drug_court_graduates.html  

newsnet5.com - http://www.newsnet5.com/news/local-news/cleveland-metro/cleveland-drug-court-graduates-go-through-treatment-program-rather-than-jail-time

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