Former addicts graduate from drug court


CARMEL – Nine residents of Putnam County drew cheers and applause for accomplishing what some believed was the impossible — completion of the rigorous two-year long Putnam Drug Treatment Court Program.

Before family and friends who packed the historic Putnam Courthouse last Thursday afternoon, the graduates — David B., Kyla G., Danielle G., Robert K., Armaan O., Sean P., John P., Jeremy P., and Lindsey O. — each thanked members of the Drug Court team and the late Judge Jim Reitz for turning their lives around.

The popular judge died suddenly last June following a massive coronary while seated on the bench and Judge Susan Capeci has assumed the role of temporary role of drug court administrator.

Judge Capeci announced during the hour-long ceremony that Putnam’s recently-elected County Judge Joseph Spofford will be taking over the reins of Drug Treatment Court within the not-too-distant future.

She also thanked the Judge Reitz’s widow, Barbara, for attending the ceremony and presenting the graduates with a commemorative coin that had been minted by the late judge prior to his death.

Barbara Reitz, left, presents Danielle with a medal her late husband designed for drug court graduated

Each of the graduates had the opportunity to address the court.

Kyla said, “Judge Reitz and the entire Drug Court team are the reasons I am here today. Drug Court saved my life. Some days are harder than others but now as graduates we all have found something that we are passionate about.”

For Danielle “it took a long, long time for me to discover that everything falls into place. We all have refocused our energy by reconnecting with our families.”

Lindsey said she “defied a life of destruction and now as graduates we can make a positive impact on others.”

Armaan thanked the Drug Court team as well. “You will be part of me for the remainder of my life.”

Judge Capeci said she was “happy to carry on Judge Reitz’ legacy. Always remember, the best times come when students want for themselves what we want for them.”

The Putnam Drug Court team consists of John Brogan, Brian Carlin, Undersheriff Kevin Cheverko, Joseph DeMarzo, Charleen Effinger, Sue Fitzgerald, Sheila Hanley, Louise Opfer, who serves as Treatment Court Coordinator, Arlene Seymour, Naura Slivinsky, Breanne Smith, Robert Tendy and Tama Monoson.

During its 19 years of operation, more than 275 residents have successfully completed the drug court curriculum under the watchful eye of Judge Reitz and his predecessor Judge Robert Miller. Fifty residents of the county are currently enrolled in the Drug Treatment Court program.