20 Jun Judge Bibaud Presents “Addiction and the Law”
AdCare Hospital Professional Education Series speaker Judge Timothy Bibaud presents “Addiction and the Law”. Judge Timothy Bibaud, who previously spent 28 years prosecuting drug, gang, and gun cases in Worcester, MA, now presides over the Dudley District Court. Judge Bibaud launched the Dudley Drug Court — the first in Worcester County — on June 1, 2014.
Community Partners Critical to Drug Court Success
He attributes the success of the Dudley Drug Court to partnerships with treatment providers such as AdCare, and community organizations such as the county sheriff’s office, education and training resources, and employers — “anyone and everyone who is willing to help drug-related criminal offenders gain a new lease on life”.
“As the opioid epidemic continues to claim lives daily, making the public health issue of substance use a criminal justice issue isn’t helping anyone,” said Judge Bibaud, who launched the Dudley District Court on June 1, 2014.
The Dudley Drug Court team works closely with high risk, high need young adults who are using substances and have a pattern of failing probation. This population tends to think they are invincible, but also know that if they don’t do well, they face significant jail time. Candidates for the Drug Court program are assessed over a two week period by probation and a clinician to see if they are committed to participating in the mandatory one-year-to-18 month probation period and individualized treatment plans.
Treatment at the Forefront of the Dudley Drug Court
“Treatment is at the forefront of the Dudley Drug Court,” said Judge Bibaud, who relies on the clinical expertise, recommendations, and individualized plans of treatment providers such as AdCare. The process is hands on and very strict in terms of drug testing and accountability. Judge Bibaud meets with participants, probation officers, and defense attorneys weekly to address challenges related to substance use, treatment, work, school, and family. “The Drug Court staff and our community partners do anything possible to help these young people help themselves,” said Judge Bibaud. “We assist them with recommendation letters for jobs, schools, and for those seeking reunification with their families, DCF.”
A presenter at the National Drug Court Conference for three consecutive years, Judge Bibaud describes the Dudley Drug Court as a hybrid model that run is run by professionals who learn as they go. “We now understand is that every young person’s path to recovery is different,” said Judge Bibaud. “Medication Assisted Treatment works for some, but not for others; twelve-step groups are helpful for many; and education and work are important to recovery.”
New Lease on Life
The success stories are heartening. The employers we work with are finding drug court clients and graduates to be accountable and motivated. Many are doing 12-step commitments in the community. Some are coming back to the Drug Court for help with substance use. “This shows that they view the Drug Court as a safe place and want the structure and opportunity to get help for a chronic illness,” said Judge Bibaud.
The Dudley District Court, located near Interstate 84 and the Connecticut border, is the tenth busiest drug court in the State of Massachusetts. Over the past three years, the Court has graduated 41 individuals. Two have re-offended. “Along with cultivating a recovery-minded probation department and community partners, building trust and open lines of communication with participants has been critical to getting them through the Drug Court program,” said Judge Bibaud. “At the end of the day, they are the ones that did the work of recovery.”