The cycle can be broken

Steven Trenholme is a Butte County public defender for the Drug Treatment Courts

For the past seven years I have served as the public defender in Butte County’s Drug Treatment Courts. I have represented thousands of individuals with significant addictions to methamphetamine. It was with great interest that I read your recent cover story on methamphetamine ["'Butteants’ and ‘methamphibians': a horror story,” June 23].

I would second nearly all that was written about the extreme danger that methamphetamine use poses to the life, health and well being of those individuals who use the drug. However, the article left the impression that there is no hope for those who use. One drug counselor was quoted as saying that he has never met an individual who found recovery.

I am writing this letter to say that there is hope! To date we have had approximately 325 people graduate from Butte County’s Proposition 36 Comprehensive Drug Treatment Court. Hundreds more have graduated over the past 10 years from Butte County’s original Drug Court. One can come to our weekly court sessions and find individuals who are getting their lives back, often after decades of use and years spent in and out of prisons and jails. Butte County’s Drug Treatment Courts have helped break the cycle of addiction for hundreds of methamphetamine users.

Butte County has several fine organizations that daily provide hope, treatment and the tools for recovery to people who suffer from the disease of addiction. Among them are the Skyway House, Cherokee House, Integrity House, Tri-County Treatment, The Well Ministry of Rescue and Life Recovery Ministry. We also have successfully placed many clients at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Sacramento.

In addition, for more than 50 years Narcotics Anonymous has been helping addicts to stay in recovery “one day at a time.” One will find individuals in recovery at the many Narcotics Anonymous meetings that are held several times a day at multiple locations in Chico, Paradise, Oroville, Gridley and Biggs. One will also find addicts in recovery at the emerging Celebrate Recovery programs that can be found at churches in Chico, Oroville and Paradise.

I can testify that people who once were my clients are now my friends. People who used drugs for years and were close to death now own homes, have jobs and take care of their families. Recovery from methamphetamine addiction—and other addictions—is possible.

If anyone who is actively using is reading this article, I urge you to go to an NA meeting today and consider contacting one of the drug rehab programs listed above or the Butte County Behavioral Health Department. Or call me at 877-9057. Help is out there. People do care. Recovery is possible.