HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Problem-Solving Court Thirteenth Judicial Circuit celebrated participants who graduated from their addiction recovery program virtually during the pandemic and paid tribute on Friday to its 30th anniversary in Hillsborough County.
What You Need To Know
- Evans credits the Problem-Solving Court and her own sheer determination for beating her addiction
- Judge Elizabeth Rice said helping people make life-saving changes to achieve recovery is their mission
- Drug treatment courts are considered the most effective strategy for reducing addiction
“Recovery court does have value,” said graduate Lyndsey Evans, 34. “People on addiction just don’t need to be pushed to the wayside and forgot about.”
Evans graduated from the recovery drug court program last year. The Pasco County woman said she battled addiction to opioids and meth for a dozen years. In rehab, Evans made a mugshot collage from some of her arrests for theft and possession of controlled substances.
“Now I look at this and it’s almost like this has never happened. Who is this person?” she said. “Before, when I was looking at it, I used to be proud of this.”
Evans credits the Problem-Solving Court and her own sheer determination to beat her addiction.
“Recovery court, you get in there, you do the work. I wanted help,” she said. “I wanted to do the work and other people wanted it for me to help me.”
Evan said one of those people who wanted to help her was Judge Elizabeth Rice.
“It’s absolutely amazing that somebody even cares that much about people like us,” she said. “Because a lot of times people will be like, ‘Oh, they’re just a drug addict.’”
Judge Rice said helping people make life-saving changes to achieve recovery is their mission.
“Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is achievable for everyone,” she said. “We guide people to work on changing their attitudes, so they can change their way of thinking in order to change their behaviors.”
Evans said she has been clean for more than three years and her life has completely turned around for the better. She lives in a brand new house in Pasco County with her husband, has a car and a two-month-old son.
“He was the grand prize because I didn’t think I could have kids,” said Evans. “It’s just everything is going great. Never thought this was possible. I thought I was going to be dead.”
Drug treatment courts are considered the most effective strategy for reducing addiction, crime and recidivism while saving taxpayer dollars, according to the Problem-Solving Court.