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LOCKPORT – A 62-year-old Niagara Falls man with a chronically bad back was hailed Monday in Niagara County Court for beating his addiction to heroin and painkillers in the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment.

“It couldn’t have been easy,” County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas told Anthony A. Zaccarella of Maple Avenue. “You should be very, very proud of yourself.”

Zaccarella’s January 2013 guilty plea to third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance was reduced to a misdemeanor, and he will receive no more than three years’ probation, with credit for the time spent in diversion, when he returns to court July 14. He faced up to nine years in prison if he had flunked out of diversion.

He was arrested in a March 29, 2012, raid on his home, where police seized heroin.