Substance Abuse Court holds first graduation ceremony


County Attorney Press Release

On August 25, 2011, the La Paz County Substance Abuse Court held its first ever graduation ceremony.  The graduates were Frederico Ricardo “Freddy” Torres and Steven Grimes.  Freddy and Steven are the first two participants to successfully complete the program and were released from probation as a result of their outstanding performance.

The La Paz County Substance Abuse Court was first established in September 2010.  The Court is an intensive program that requires a minimum of nine months to complete.  All participants are drug tested extensively and required to attend weekly counseling sessions.

The participants are required to have a job, or perform community work service, and they must appear before Judge Michael Burke two times per month to discuss all aspects of their probationary requirements, recovery from drugs and alcohol and any future plans they have.  Both Freddy and Steven never had a positive drug test while in the program.

The graduation party, which included food, refreshments and cake, was sponsored by Walmart.  The entire Substance Abuse Court team would like to thank Walmart for its generous donation.

The Substance Abuse Court is a collaborative effort and would not be possible without the participation of Superior Court Judge Michael Burke, Clerk of the Court Sheri Newman, Chief Probation Officer John Dyess, Probation Officer Tyson Ross, Probation Officer Don Stokes, Probation Officer Kelly Brandon, La Paz Counseling, Community Intervention Associates (CIA), Arizona Counseling and Treatment Services (ACTS), Crossroads Mission and the La Paz County Attorney’s Office.


  1. The war on drugs is a huge failure! Lives have been destroyed more by the system than by the drugs themselves. Prohibition doesn’t work. It NEVER has. If we are ever to see drugs, and drug use, and abuse go down, we have to get the government out of the jailing and ticketing, and supervising of users, abusers, possessors, etc..

    If someone has a drug problem they need healthcare treatment NOT courts, lawyers, or judges.

    The worst drugs ever (for your body) is alcohol and lots of prescription drugs, and they’re legal!!! Do you ever wonder why that is?

  2. MR- I agree with you a hundred percent on legalization. But isn’t the above approach preferable to throwing people in jail? (‘Treatment not incarceration’)

  3. Yes, but the steps are too small and they are still under the control of the very system we should be trying to get away from. It’s not going to do much in the way of helping the people it’s intending to help, and it will certainly expand the bureaucracy!

  4. I can buy that argument for marijuana. I don’t like it, but its not THAT bad and is not physically addictive. (Habit forming, but not addictive. Big difference.) But the idea of legalization has to be taken on a case by case basis, not a blanket for everything.

    I’ve seen first hand the way methamphetamine has destroyed people and their families. This is very visible in our county, as many of our rural towns are plagued by it. Meth is the main catalyst to most theft’s and burglaries in this county. Crack cocaine and Heroine have destroyed entire communities all over the world. Legalization won’t fix that. If a junkee needs a hit, they’ll burglarize and rob to get the money. Whether they get it from their street dealer or the new post legalization meth shop.

    Comparing the previous three to alcohol is just ignorant. While alcohol can be addictive to certain people if abused, one beer doesn’t get you hooked. One hit of meth coke or heroin, however, can. Alcoholism can take years, even decades, to destroy your body. The drugs I mentioned can do it in days, weeks, months, or even just one bad hit. Not saying alcohol is a good thing, its a problem as well. Much of the problems with alcohol comes from how readily available it is because it’s legal. Imagine how bad a town full of meth bars would be.

    Treatment only works for those who are willing to do it. Watch a few episodes of Intervention. The system providing treatment options to those willing is a good idea. But you can’t force a tweaker into rehab if they don’t want it. And many don’t. The only option at that point, to protect the community, is jail.

    Banning something has never made every single person stop doing it. Murder and rape are illegal, but people still commit those crimes. All you can do is minimize the amount who do it and try to protect the rest of society from those who do.

  5. Prohibition of anything doesn’t work. Alcohol is a drug UNcommon Sense, and it’s not ignorant to say it’s more destructive than lots of other drugs. Just because you like it and it sits well with you doesn’t change the fact that YES after one time getting drunk people DO get hooked on alcohol.

    It’s really sad to see people so excited to imprison their fellow human beings instead of trying more creative ways to help.

    Here’s a country that gets it…

    A whole town of meth bars huh? If meth were legalized, use and abuse would go down. Just like when we had prohibition of alcohol, more people cooked up their own moonshine and beer than when it was legal. And prohibition gave rise to the mafia.

    Government controllers don’t get that it’s freedom that brings out the best in a society. Freedom doesn’t work if you are only allowed to make good choices!!!

    The government’s job is not to protect everybody from everything you deem evil. Our form of government is supposed to be there to secure our freedoms and liberties. And if I choose to destroy my life with heroine or Budweiser, that’s my choice. Just because one is legal and another isn’t doesn’t make the legal one any more moral than the other!

    Bottom’s up!!!

    P.S. How is the government minimizing murder and rapes?

  6. I thought the article was about how well Steve Grimes and Freddy Torres did in Drug Court? Congratulations to both of you, I know how hard you worked for the past nine months. Good job guys.

  7. It wasn’t an article but a press release, designed so politicians can pat themselves on the back and say “see, aren’t we doing great things for the community”. I tend to disagree with this entire set up.

    But nontheless, the two fellows should be commended for avoiding any more problems within the flawed system.

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