WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a veteran drug recovery program held an in-person graduation.
The Veterans Treatment Court program increases access to benefits and treatments earned through military service. Many of the men and women who graduated Thursday would otherwise be facing incarceration due to drug-related charges.
Officials say the program enables them to address the underlying issues that bring a veteran into the criminal justice system through a support system.
“It helps develop a team that is there to support, to push, to coach, to help and to get you the resources that probably weren’t available to you just as ‘Joe Citizen’,” said program graduate Elijah Morrison.
Morrison added that the pandemic shut down previously available programs through the Veterans’ Affairs department that he would have otherwise had access to. The Veterans Treatment Court has given him the support he needed when it wasn’t readily available.
“[Completing this program] means the beginning of a new me, truthfully. Being able to just be able to breathe easy for a minute and just relax. [That’s] something I haven’t been able to do since I got out of the military,” Morrison said.
Veterans Treatment Court is made possible through state and federal support as well as volunteer veteran mentors and veterans family support organizations.