This is confirmation of the growing number of Mental Health Courts and Drug Courts that are sending their seriously mentally ill, suicidal offenders to a Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meeting near you! Mandating the mentally ill patients to 12 step programs that dont like therapists and tell many participants not to take their meds. Wow,that sounds like a swell idea! Let’s not forget how proud AA/NA/CA is that they are forever non-professionals. AA likes to call their unique demographics that are made up of violent felons, sexual predators, serial rapists, murders and the seriously mentally ill ( many whom are suicidal), a wonderful place to encourage teenagers and younger minors to come join!
AA is famous for stating that the meetings are just a microcosm of society. Let me tell you-they are completely WRONG!!!!!! Actually AA meetings are a microcosm of AA/NA period, and the people who run them around the country. AA/NA meetings are a dangerous place for minors and other vulnerable people.
Limitations Of 12 Step Programs
12 Step programs designed for people whose problems are primarily substance abuse are generally not recommended for people who also have a mental illness. These programs tend to be confrontive and coercive and most people with severe mental illnesses are too fragile to benefit from them. Heavy confrontation, intense emotional jolting, and discouragement of the use of medications tend to be detrimental. These treatments may produce levels of stress that exacerbate symptoms or cause relapse.
An afternoon in the biweekly mental-health courtroom of Washington County Judge Marco Hernandez in Hillsboro. The scene in court includes, left to right, Jeff MacLean, deputy district attorney; Joe Simich, probation officer; Rebecca Blaney, public defender; and a client reporting to Judge Hernandez.
Washington County Oregon At the start of a recent Mental Health Court session, the 50-year-old judge tells the crowd he shredded his ankle his first time snowboarding. One of the defendants, diagnosed as a bipolar alcoholic, says falling is the best part and volunteers to teach the judge how to do it right.
Another time, a meth addict with a bipolar diagnosis says she is discouraged that her theft conviction keeps her from getting a decent job.
“I started out washing dishes and I was a janitor,” Hernandez barks, waving his arm as the defendants laugh. “I went all the way through college, and my first job was a maid! What’s up with that? A four-year degree and I’m a maid!”
Hernandez leads Mental Health Court as part inspirational speaker, part compassionate confessor, part stern uncle.
The banter puts the mentally ill defendants at ease. Hernandez shows he believes in them and trusts them. In turn, they don’t want to disappoint.
The rapport between judge and defendants, along with intense supervision and hard work by a team of court, corrections and mental health staff, has helped the special court navigate the ups and downs of its first year.
“So, what’s going on?” the judge asks a big man who has schizophrenia and a cocaine addiction. Earlier, Hernandez sent the man to jail on a probation violation.
“I’m doing the classes, I’m out of jail, I’m sleeping in the Coop every night,” the man says, referring to a Luke-Dorf Inc. group home for mentally ill substance abusers. “I’m going to classes. I’m observing the rules every night.”
Progress can be uneven
The Washington County team struggles to deal with the breakdowns that can haunt the mentally ill.
One woman died from a heroin overdose. Some participants attempt suicide, abuse alcohol or use illicit drugs. Some miss appointments and classes. Every session, the judge metes out jail time or community service to those who slip up.
“I’m not messing around,” Hernandez bluntly tells a man who left the Coop and was caught using drugs. “We had a deal. I’ve gone way out of my way to help you out on this, but you aren’t doing your part.”
Hernandez and Simich say they have learned to look at how far the participants have come, not how far they have to go.
One woman with a bipolar diagnosis used to be hospitalized several times a week, threatening suicide. Since she’s been coming to Mental Health Court — and since Hernandez sent her to jail for 90 days for using meth again –“we broke her of that and she did well for a while,” Simich says.
Heather Wiegele, 30, who was diagnosed as bipolar at age 13, was convicted of drunken driving and skipped out on her probation. She says she appreciates that Hernandez, who told her she had to comply or go to jail, is tough but fair. Clean and sober for 7-1/2 months, Wiegele asked Hernandez during court in February if she could move to Arizona to be closer to family. The judge conferred with the rest of the team and said she needed to get a job and finish the program here.
“When she came in last year, I thought she was going to die, she was literally shaking,” Hernandez explains later.
A couple of weeks after she professed she was ready to leave, Wiegele’s depression got the best of her. She drank, took 60 of her anti-anxiety pills and ended up in the hospital. Now she’s back in Mental Health Court and attending extra Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. She has a landscaping job and has moved into the Coop.
- Community safety
- Systems integration and service facilitation for our defendants
- Reducing the criminalization of persons with mental illness and other brain disorders
Juvenile Justice Participants Mandated to Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous.
Does the Drug Treatment Court Program have special conditions?
Yes. To finish the program, the minor must:
- Go to drug counseling
- Go to a court review every 2 weeks
- Contact the community worker that supervises them every week
- Go to school regularly
- Have drug tests every week
- Go to ‘12-step’ meetings at least twice a week. This can be Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous.
- Write in a journal 2 times a week