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|Drug court association honors Marchman|
Fourth District Judge Sharon Marchman received the Louisiana Association of Drug Court Professionals' top award during the group's annual conference last week in New Orleans.
Marchman spearheads the area's adult and juvenile drug courts, which meet regularly in Morehouse and Ouachita parishes.
For her efforts and for her local team's work, Marchman received the Jake Hadley Award for outstanding service in the drug court field.
"I was just shocked when they called my name, and really, the first thing that went through my mind was, 'I am completely undeserving of this,'" Marchman said.
"Drug court is such a team approach," Marchman said. "I have two teams, with 24 people, and they are the best in the state. They make me look good.
"This award is because of their outstanding efforts. We work well together. We respect each other's opinions and we're able to give our opinions freely, knowing that whatever decision is made is done with the client's best interest at heart."
Marchman took over adult drug court in 2004, and one year later, developed a juvenile drug court.
She is most proud of her team's efforts to reunite families, whether it's juveniles becoming closer to their parents as they work through their problems,
or adults who regain custody of their children after they have maintained sobriety.
By bringing the juvenile's family into the process and giving support back to parents, Marchman said more local youth stay off drugs and remain in school.
The recidivism rate among adults also is low, at around three percent. Those adults are going back to school, maintaining jobs and becoming productive citizens again, she said.
Drug court results are promising for this region, according to Marchman, and something the community should be pleased with.
"We're spending some money on the front end to get treatment," she said, adding that it pays off for society in general by successfully keeping people off drugs and out of the criminal justice system.
"We're teaching them the tools to lead a sober life," Marchman added.
Adults are more often the ones addicted to drugs. Some adults have a mental health problem and often "self-medicate" themselves with certain illegal drugs.
Juveniles typically are not addicted, but some experiment with certain drugs. As they get older, they may become addicted to drugs.
The adults, therefore, are involved in specific treatment programs to end their addiction and remain sober. Therapists from the University of Louisiana-Monroe work with the juveniles on their negative lifestyles and their choices to help keep them drug-free.
"There are typically underlying problems we need to get to the root of … it's a cycle we're trying to break one at a time," she said.
Marchman encourages local residents who may not know anything about the adult and juvenile drug courts to visit proceedings and see first hand what the courts are doing to help local residents.