Felony drug court graduates defeat their demons

Judge: 3-year recidivism rate 12.6 percent

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The newest 32 graduates of the Bexar County Drug Court and their families filled the jury room at the Justice Center to celebrate defeating their demons after 12 to 18 months of intensive supervision and support.

Judge Ernie Glenn said the three-year recidivism rate is 12.6 percent, but going back to 2004, 75 percent of the program's estimated 800 graduates have remained clean and sober.

Amber Breunig, 33, said she’s determined to be among those who stay sober.

“It took so long, and I worked very, very hard,” Breunig said while wearing her cap and gown. “I’m so happy to be here right now.”

Breunig said that, although she came from a good family, “I just loved to have fun and take everything to the extreme.” She said she went from using Oxycotin in high school to later using heroin.

“After a decade of self-destruction, I’m finally who I’m supposed to be. I’m loving every minute of it,” Breunig said.

She now plans to pursue a career in interior design.

Glenn said with its share of more than $3 million in grants from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, his drug court will have a case manager and treatment dedicated to those in the program who struggle with opioid addictions, especially pregnant women.

Glenn said that, in the past, expectant mothers sometimes were put in jail to keep them from using drugs and hurting their babies.

“Not a good resolution,” Glenn said.

The judge said he hopes to put the new funding into use by the end of the year. 

WEB EXTRA: Hear from a Felony Drug Court graduate about the program

Felony Drug Court statistics from the Office of the County Manager:

TODAY'S GRADUATING CLASS AT A GLANCE

  • Felony Drug Court – 15 graduates (47 percent)

  • Felony Co-Occurring Reentry Court – 9 graduates (28 percent)

  • Felony DWI Court – 8 graduates (25 percent)

TOTAL: 32 graduates

Most of Friday's graduates have been using drugs and/or alcohol for most of their adolescent and adult life. Prior to entering the Felony Drug Court program, the 32 graduates had a combined total of 218 arrests in Bexar County.

Since entering the program, the average amount of time they have remained drug and alcohol free is 13 months.

In the last three years, the recidivism rate for Felony Drug Court graduates is 12.26 percent.

GENDER

  • Male – 59 percent

  • Female – 41 percent

RACE/ETHNICITY

  • Hispanic – 59 percent

  • Caucasian – 35 percent

  • African American – 6 percent

AGE

  • Average age – 38

  • Youngest graduate is 21 years old

  • Oldest graduate is 73 years old

DRUGS OF CHOICE

  • Methamphetamines – 41 percent

  • Opiates – 31 percent

  • Alcohol – 13 percent

  • Cocaine – 13 percent

  • Benzodiazepines – 2 percent

  • 38 percent of the graduates were poly-substance users

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