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DUNKIRK - The Dunkirk City Treatment Court will celebrate its 10th anniversary next week.
City Judge Walter Drag has announced that the next treatment court graduation and open house will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Dunkirk City Courtroom in City Hall.
The ceremony is scheduled to honor the anticipated graduates who have had clean screenings for at least 12 months, are employed, have completed chemical dependency treatment and are living sober, productive lives.
The court offers an alternative way of handling criminal cases not only to defendants in City Court but also all to town and village courts of northern Chautauqua County and Chautauqua County Court in Mayville.
Drag has presided in the treatment court since its beginning.
The drug court treatment model seeks to break the cycle of abuse by providing a holistic team approach, which enables individuals to change their lives.
This is done by requiring treatment, counseling, assistance in educational and vocational activities, self-help meetings and community service.
Although that is not easy or quick for defendants, about 80 percent generally complete the program, court officials said.
Drag said, "The good news is that people can and do change, sometimes in spite of tremendous odds against them. That is why we hold graduations and open houses to bear witness to the courage and success of those completing the program. It also offers encouragement to those in the program and to those considering it."
For more information, the public can call the Leeann Lazarony, drug court manager, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 366-2055 or 366-9834, or fax her at 366-4709.
Interested individuals also may email her at llazaron@courts.state.ny.us.