FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Amber Swain was 8 years old when a family member introduced her to drugs. In the 20 years since, she overdosed three times and died once for 45 minutes.
Drugs of choice included Fentanyl and crack cocaine, Swain said.
Now at 28, she is living the life she wanted to live, thanks to Allen County Drug Court.
The problem-solving court, launched in 1996, allows individuals facing non-violent drug offenses to have their charges dismissed if they complete the program, which includes treatment, counseling and personal development.
Swain was one of 21 people to graduate Monday, this being the 51st Drug Court graduation since its inception in 1996, Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull said at the ceremony.
Gull said she was grateful the group was there, that they’d chosen life and chosen “sobriety and recovery over the chaos you were living in before you decided that (addiction) was not the life you wanted.”
Graduates were given swag bags that included gift cards and were allowed to speak if they wanted to. Monday, graduates ranged from 26 to 54.
Swain was one of those who spoke, publicly thanking Tomi Cardin, executive director at Redemption House, where Swain went through her recovery process. Swain said she was grateful that Gull allowed her to come back to Drug Court after she was kicked out the first time.
During her recovery, Swain developed a relationship with Jesus and has had a job for the majority of her year and a half recovery, she and Cardin said.
Keynote speaker Nate Moellering, community outreach coordinator for Fort Wayne Recovery and Allendale Treatment, battled drug addiction for more than a decade, something “which destroyed more relationships than I thought possible,” he said. Addiction is not measured in grams, he said, “but in broken relationships and negative consequences.”
At any one time, there are about 145 people in the Drug Court program and the majority of participants are successful, Laura Olivero, operations manager for the program, said. Participants are tested for a complete panel of drugs.