WARRENSBURG — Johnson County Recovery Court hosted a graduation ceremony Monday, Dec. 30, at the Johnson County Justice Center to celebrate Donna “Jordan” Doak’s completion of the recovery program.
During the event, it was also announced that Recovery Court had received more funding and State Representative Dan Houx received an award for his support of various recovery treatment programs.
The graduation ceremony was initially scheduled to take place Dec. 16, but was pushed back due to winter weather conditions.
Johnson County Associate Circuit Judge Brent Teichman introduced Doak, describing the immense change he saw Doak go through.
Doak took to the podium to speak about her struggle with heroin addiction, which she said began after the passing of a friend.
Doak eventually accumulated multiple possession of controlled substance felony charges.
She was put on probation for the charges, which she violated numerous times due to her addiction.
In 2018, Doak started her journey to an addiction-free life when she began the Recovery Court process.
After 22 months in the program, Doak recovered from her addiction.
Doak described the positive changes in everyday life getting clean has done for her, such as getting home at a decent hour and being able to spend more time with her child.
“I’ve become a better mother, a better daughter and a better sister,” Doak said.
Prosecuting Attorney Robert Russell was the keynote speaker of the event.
“Addiction is a monster,” Russell said. “A monster that has to be fed. It doesn’t listen, it doesn’t compromise. It only demands. Treatment courts are the way to address this.”
Russell said that for every dollar invested in a participant in Recovery Court, the community gets $27.
Russell also said sending one person to prison costs a national average of $22,000 per year while sending one person through Recovery Court costs about $6,900.
According to Russell, a person graduating from Recovery Court has a 75% chance of remaining arrest-free compared to a 30% chance of remaining arrest-free after a person leaves prison.
“Our statistics are better than that 75% in the 17th circuit,” Russell said. “The odds of the Warrensburg Police Department seeing Jordan for anything else other than ‘Hi there, how are you doing?’ has dropped incredibly.”
Russell said that with Recovery Court graduates being much less likely to be arrested, police officers are able to answer calls in other places and county resources are spared.
“This frees up resources in this county, not for people who are addicts, but those who are violent, those who victimize children, those who victimize the elderly, those who are the predators that we need to protect the community from,” Russell said. “We now have available bed space. We are now able to focus our efforts on the worst of the worst and not upon good people who make bad decisions.”
Russell thanked Houx and the Johnson County Commissioners for the support they have showed towards the program.
“Without your support, Jordan wouldn’t have this opportunity to be the person she has hoped about being for a long period of time,” Russell said.
Russell went on to thank the community as a whole for supporting the program and it’s positive results in addiction recovery.
“Without community support, this program doesn’t go very far,” Russell said. “We, as a community, have to recognize that this is the way we need to address addiction issues. We turn them around and make them protective members, save lives, save money and do what makes sense.”
Russell also took the opportunity to announce that former Missouri Senator David Pearce provided Russell $2,000 to support Johnson County Recovery Court.
“That was money he decided needed to come here,” Russell said. “He made that donation personally to us.”
Following Russell, Teichman introduced Missouri Coalition of Recovery Support Providers Parliamentarian Adriatik Likcani to speak.
On behalf of the coalition, Likcani thanked Houx for his support towards the coalition and recovery programs.
“When we started with drug court and we wanted to do housing, he was the first man in Warrensburg to come to us and say, ‘What do you need?’” Likcani said.
Lickani then presented Houx with the organization’s Missouri Champion Award in recognition for “his support in treatment and recovery support service for substance use disorders and dedication to improving the lives of people in recovery and their loved ones.”
Following Likcani, Circuit Clerk Stephanie Elkins presented Doak with her award for completing the treatment course.
At the end of the graduation ceremony, Teichman and Russell dismissed Doak’s felony charges, removing them from her record.