KENTON — It was just two years ago that Nathan Getz’s life was going nowhere.
He had spent prison time and had numerous run-ins with the law, all fueled by opioid addiction. After his most recent arrest, Getz was selected to participate in the addiction treatment program through the Hardin County court system.
“I was in trouble,” Getz said. “I was always looking behind my back. I had lost respect for myself.”
Getz was one of several guest speakers Monday in the Hardin County Common Pleas Courtroom to discuss lessons that have been learned from Ohio’s Addiction Treatment Program. After graduating from the program, Getz has been clean for 18 months, found gainful employment, and is a proud homeowner supporting his wife and children.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for recovery court and my family,” Getz said.
Hardin County was one of the first counties to implement the recovery program in 2013. Since then, 130 people have requested to enter the program, with 78 accepted. A total of 23 people have graduated and 17 were removed from the program for failing to abide by program rules. Another 38 people are in various stages of the treatment program.
“Many people participating in this program have obtained stable jobs,” said Judge Scott Barrett of Hardin County Common Pleas Court. “Many have regained custody of their children or went to college. They are rebuilding family ties that they have lost. It is a win-win situation for all.”
Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Tracy Plouck said a study conducted by Case Western Reserve University has revealed that the program is paying dividends. The pilot program resulted in program graduates showing increased employment and stable housing, while seeing significant drops in crimes committed and substance use. Because of its success, state legislators decided to continue with the program and invested $11 million for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
“The challenge of continued sobriety is hard enough,” Barrett said. “This program offers hope.”
Potential clients are carefully evaluated to determine if they have a good chance of completing the program. Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize and Hardin Counties Executive Director Mike Schoenhofer said Getz was a perfect example of what the program can potentially do.
“Thus is a chance,” Schoenhofer said. “A chance for the American dream.”
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter@LanceMihm