ST. JOHNS-The Apache County Juvenile Drug Court celebrated its second graduate, 17-year-old Garrison George after successful completion of a nine-month program on July 25.
Presiding Superior Court Judge Donna J. Grimsley also rescinded George's probation due to his outstanding performance in the Drug Court program.
George told the court he started using marijuana at age 13 "to be cool." His use continued at age 15 due to peer pressure. Daily use led to probation and failed drug testing led to detention and finally drug court. George said Drug Court showed him how to stay clean, sober and abstinent. "It gave me life skills to get off probation. I finished the tasks and did as I was told. Thanks for not giving up on me."
During the same session, another 17-year-old youth was advanced to Phase II of the program, with the potential of completion in 60 days. "Apache County is fortunate to have a Juvenile Drug Court," said his mother. She noted that her son had learned accountability, understands consequences and has an improved attitude and respect for the court.
Both young men were rewarded with a gift basket and George additionally received a gift certificate.
Juveniles under 18 may be referred to Drug Court if found guilty of breaking the law and substance abuse is the crime or drug use is subsequently involved. Also, if an offender has difficulty adhering to probation terms and is in danger of being sent to the state juvenile prison system, he or she may be referred to Drug Court. With this option, the youth can remain in the home and community while working the rigorous program. Apache County's youth Drug Court is 10 months old.