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Deschutes family drug court called ‘inspirational’


If you ask the graduates of the Deschutes County Family Drug Court, the program has lifesaving qualities.

Sean Orsborn recently graduated the program, after 26 months. He says if it wasn’t for family drug court, he would be in prison or dead.

“I got in some trouble. I had kind of a tainted past. They offered me family drug court and I took it,” Orsborn said recently.

Deschutes County Presiding Circuit Judge Alta Brady, who met with him during those two years, is the first to say making it through drug court, is no easy feat.

“You’re chasing every aspect, every habit every routine of your life,” Brady — who is retiring from the bench — said Monday. “So usually, these ones who come to us are the ones who realize they just can’t figure it out themselves, as to how they make the changes necessary to end up in a clean and sober environment.”

For Orsborn, with repetition came new habits.

“It was really tough at first, and then it got a little easier and easier, the more I started to believe in the program,” he said.

Family drug court offers people who have a criminal record, a high-level addiction and who are at risk of losing their children a second chance through regular court appearances, drug tests, counseling and more.

For sheriff’s Deputy Keith Slater, a family drug court member, it’s inspiring to see the change that happens for participants.

“For the family, there’s been ones that have pretty much said, ‘I wrote my son or my daughter off, I didn’t think they’d ever be part of the family again, and now I’ve got them and their own children and they are a good father, a good mother.’ It’s powerful. It’s neat to see,” Slater said.

In addition, the participants develop a new attitude toward the law.

“A lot of these people have spent a lot of time going in and out of correction facilities, being arrested, what they would see as negative interactions with us,” Slater said.

Before drug court, they also had negative feelings toward the court system.

“It’s a world where it makes a difference to them that I’m in there, a person of authority, who really cares about them and wants them to be successful,” Brady said.

For the people in family drug court, that can make all the difference.

“It’s a program that’ll save your life, the wraparound services they provide — it’s life-changing, for sure,” Orsborn said.

Agencies involved in the Deschutes County Family Drug Court include:

Deschutes County Health Services Deschutes County Human Services – Child Welfare Deschutes County Circuit Court Deschutes County District Attorney Deschutes County Department of Parole and Probation Crabtree & Rahmsdorff Alana Brenneman, P.C. Pfeifer & Associates Healthy Families of the High Desert Bend Therapist, LLC Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Central Oregon Deschutes Family Recovery Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office

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