Baldwin County Drug Court celebrating 16 years

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:12 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - All too often we report on crimes involving drug addiction. Thursday night on the Eastern Shore Baldwin County Drug Court were celebrating people who have overcome it — and the ones who have helped them on their road to recovery.

The road to overcoming drug addiction has a lot of stops.

“Someone who is an addict -- they will not be able to get clean and sober by themselves -- they are going to have to have help. And that’s who we are,” explained Baldwin County District Attorney Bob Wilters.

In 2007 -- District Attorney Wilters was then Judge Wilters and helped launch Baldwin Drug Court. He describes it as an “out of the box” proposal -- that’s evolved over the years -- showing what can be done by not putting people in jail -- instead giving them a chance and the resources to get their lives back together.

“When I was first serving as a judge -- I thought fear would be enough to change somebody -- and that’s not right -- I put the same people in prison three times and it was like wait a minute -- we’ve got to do something different here. It is without a doubt the most rewarding thing I’ve done as a judge,” said Wilters.

Thursday night’s featured speaker -- actor Danny Trejo -- sharing his battle with addiction and how’s he remained sober for 55 years.

For the last 8 years — Judge Scott Taylor has been at the Baldwin Drug Court and says while the drugs & treatment may have changed — the end result has not.

“Usually when folks come into the program they are mistrustful of others -- they don’t feel good about themselves -- they don’t feel good about the situation they’re in. And by the time they leave us they’re in a better position to deal with the situations that come with life. That’s what I would say is the biggest change --is how they view themselves and their circumstances,” said Judge Taylor.

In the last 16 years they’ve managed to help more than 800 people successfully navigate their road to recovery.

“It can be done -- especially for an individual like me that struggled with addiction for many, many years and I was homeless,” said Marshall Metz.

Metz completed the program in 2019. Since then he’s become a licensed recovery support specialist and is now a Drug Court team member -- sharing his testimony to help others.

“Lived experience is like no other. Being able to sit down with an individual -- and say I know how you feel -- I’ve been where you’ve been. All I’ve really got to say is thank God for programs like Drug Court -- because it saved my life,” said Metz.

It takes a team of community partners to make Baldwin County Drug Court work. Two of those partners were honored for their contribution — Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack took home the Mapping Futures Recognition Award and Baldwin Court Services the Bluebird Recognition Award.