July 29, 2023 @ 11:42 am
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn. – The Recovery Court Division of the Montgomery County Adult Probation Department held a graduation ceremony last week in the County Commission Chambers to recognize 17 individuals who completed Recovery Court requirements.
While in the program, the 17 graduates, representing 6,196 sober days, had 2,133 drug screenings and completed 304.25 hours of community service. Two graduates also gave birth to drug-free babies while in the program; a third baby is coming soon.
Following words of encouragement from County Mayor Wes Golden and City Mayor Joe Pitts, keynote speaker Dr. Stephen Loyd, an Internal Medicine/Addiction Medicine Physician, shared his journey to recovery with the graduates, participants, and supporters. Formerly an addict himself, Dr. Loyd has been free of opioids and benzodiazepines since 2004. He shared that we often overlook the fact that more Americans live in recovery than in addiction.
“Our brain is divided into two parts: the reward area and the frontal lobe. With addiction, the reward part of the brain takes over and the frontal lobe, which helps to make good decisions, is lost. During recovery, the frontal lobe takes up to two years to return. Don’t look at addiction as a moral failure, but as something you can overcome. Relationships are the key,” Loyd explained.
Loyd told the graduates they were turtles on the fence, explaining that they did not overcome addiction on their own. He stated that it takes people like judges, mayors, law enforcement, the DA's Office, family, and others to help.
Dr. Loyd has served as an expert witness in more than 20 federal and state cases against physicians who improperly prescribed controlled substances. He was named an Advocate for Action by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), an office of the President of the United States. He has delivered more than 500 educational lectures about addiction and prescribing controlled substances. He was an original member (still active) of the Treatment of Chronic Pain Guidelines Committee that defines pain treatment for Tennessee healthcare providers. He has worked as an Addiction Medicine Physician in inpatient and outpatient settings, specializing in caring for opioid-dependent pregnant women.
In addition to serving on multiple drug courts in Tennessee, Loyd is Vice-President of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee appointed him as Chair of the Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council and was the Assistant Commissioner (Opioid Czar) for Substance Abuse Services with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services during Governor Bill Haslam’s administration. He serves as Chief Medical Officer for Cedar Recovery in Tennessee and is the inspiration for Michael Keaton’s character in Hulu’s Emmy Award-winning series Dopesick.
"The Recovery Court Team and I continue to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates. We are proud and excited about their futures. Graduates and participants have turned difficult roads into beautiful journeys. I am thankful for the support of this community in our efforts to reduce recidivism in the courts by using the recovery model. Dr. Loyd is an inspiration to us all and I am honored he was able to spend the afternoon with us. His story shows us that in the worst of times, there is still hope," Judge Sharon Massey Grimes shared.
The Montgomery County Adult Recovery Court Program is a voluntary court overseen by Judge Massey Grimes of the 19th Judicial District offered through the courts for residents involved in the criminal justice system with alcohol and/or other drug offenses. Participation in Recovery Court includes rigorous supervision, assistance accessing treatment, and aid with job placement to help participants successfully recover from addiction, abstain from drugs, and diminish incarceration expenses.
The Recovery Court Team is a diverse group of professionals dedicated to working with community partners to support participants and their family members. The Court offers two tracks and is funded partially under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and by participant fees and donations.
For more information on the Adult Recovery Court Program, call (931) 648-8702.
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*Please note, not all graduates wanted photos and the names of those who did are identified as the photo title.
* The photo of the three ladies behind the podium are Cynthia Richards, Recovery Court Coordinator; Sherry Robertson, Director of Adult Probation and Judge Sharon Massey Grimes.