From heroin addiction to helping others rehabilitate: Judge Albert Zweig shares story of recovery, hope

Alby Zweig, magistrate judge, Denver County Drug Court  Photo credit: The Colorado Independent
Alby Zweig, magistrate judge, Denver County Drug Court
Photo credit: The Colorado Independent

During a lunch session at the 10th annual Accountability Courts Conference, Judge Albert “Alby” Zweig shared his story from heroin addiction to law school to helping others as a magistrate judge in Denver, Colorado’s drug court.

Judge Zweig emphasized the role that community supports play in recovery. People struggling with addiction are “worthy of your compassion, not your scorn,” said Zweig. “A lot of people don’t understand the level to which addicts cannot stop using without help-and how successful they can be if we help them.”

Read: “Denver Drug Court Second Chance: From Addict to Magistrate

Accountability Courts Conference: DBHDD session supports veterans’ treatment courts

In September, DBHDD joined Georgia’s Administrative Office of the Courts to host the 10th annual Accountability Courts Conference. The five-day conference in Cobb County featured education and training sessions for over 1,000 law enforcement professionals and stakeholders who attended.

DBHDD conducted an all-day session, Veterans Treatment Court: Mentor Boot Camp. During the workshop, which was open only to veterans, participants received mentor training, enabling them to help other veterans successfully navigate veterans’ court treatment programs. Graduates of the workshop are trained veteran mentors and are eligible to be assigned by a veterans’ court to mentor a defendant. The workshop was provided through DBHDD’s Jail Diversion Trauma Recovery grant initiative.

Currently, there are five veterans’ courts in Georgia. They operate using either drug court or mental health court models. In April, Governor Deal signed SB 320, which established the creation of a veteran’s court division in Georgia’s judicial system. The new law will allow for make it easier for jurisdictions to create veterans courts.

Gateway expands services in Camden County

Image credit: Gateway Behavioral Health Services
Image credit: Gateway Behavioral Health Services

Gateway Behavioral Health Services of Camden recently announced the addition of new behavioral health services, including an open access program accepting walk-ins for new intake appointments and crisis/hospital discharge.

Beginning November 1, open access will be available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. and on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Scheduled appointments may be made outside of these times. For information on this or any of the services below, please call (912) 576-4357.

The Camden center also started an intensive outpatient substance abuse group for adults who are on Medicaid or do not have insurance. The group is led by substance abuse counselor Vanessa Walker. She is also available for substance abuse assessments for adults or children.

Peer specialist Chris Baker runs a daily peer program which helps people with social skills and social support. They take weekly trips out into the community and learn skills like budgeting, shopping and socializing. Daily transportation to and from the group is available, and referrals are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Tiffany Lemery, Gateway of Camden’s case manager, meets Medicaid or uninsured patients in the community or in their homes and helps them access disability, phone, employment, housing, food stamps and Medicaid services. She also assists individuals with life skills such as cleaning, budgeting and other activities of daily living.

The center has also started new groups for both anger and pain management. For more information or to make a referral for any of these services, please call (912) 576-4357.

Gateway Behavioral Health Services is one of twenty-six community service boards in the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities’ statewide public safety network. Gateway serves individuals with mental health and addiction disorders and developmental disabilities in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties.

First Lady Sandra Deal visits DBHDD to celebrate recovery

DBHDD recently welcomed stakeholders and community partners to the opening of a new consumer art exhibit. “The Art of Recovery” is a unique collection featuring artwork by individuals recovering from serious mental illness, substance abuse or both. The exhibit showcases the talents of these individuals and the role that creative outlets play in the recovery process.

First Lady Sandra Deal joined Commissioner Berry to honor the individuals who have contributed their work to the exhibit. “Art is a way for [people] to express themselves,” said Mrs. Deal. “What [these artists] have done is so great. It’s really wonderful work.”

DBHDD is dedicated to serving individuals in long-term recovery by helping them find their voice and offering a venue in which to share it. “The exhibit demonstrates that when given the opportunity to participate in effective treatment and recovery supports, people can and do recover,” said Mark Baker, DBHDD’s director of recovery transformation.

The artwork will remain on display in our central office in downtown Atlanta and will rotate on a bi-annual basis, creating a living gallery with a message of hope. State Representative Lynne Riley (R—Johns Creek) also attended in the event.

DBHDD kicks off Red Ribbon Week, reminds Georgia’s youth that Real Life is Drug-Free

DBHDD kicked off Red Ribbon Week on behalf of the Governor’s Red Ribbon Campaign, which supports the national Red Ribbon movement started by the National Family Partnership in 1988 to honor federal DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was murdered while working in Mexico to fight drug trafficking. Today, Red Ribbon focuses on educating children about the dangers of drug use and encouraging them to seek healthy alternatives to drugs.

DBHDD provides educational materials and resources to Georgia schools and communities to help them encourage drug-free living year-round. Our efforts culminate annually during National Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31), which is celebrated with activities and events that encourage healthy alternatives to drug use and alcohol abuse.

Approximately 1,500 children from across Georgia gathered at the October 22nd kick off in Mableton. Many of the schools participated in a talent show that featured posters, skits, singing and dancing as expressions of their commitment to living drug-free.

See our event featured in the Marietta Daily Journal.