Lewis County “Walk for Recovery”

Drug Court alumni and enrollees holding ‘Walk for Recovery’ on Monday in Centralia, public invited to join


A Walk for Recovery 2024 shirt lies displayed on a table inside the South Tower Avenue Chevron on Thursday, May 9.

OWEN SEXTON/[email protected]

Posted Friday, May 10, 2024 2:41 pm

By Owen Sexton / [email protected]

On Monday, May 13, beginning at 5:30 p.m., Lewis County Drug Court alumni and current enrollees will set out for the 2024 Walk for Recovery from Gather Church’s cafe, located at 408 W. Main St. in downtown Centralia.

Drug Court graduate Leah Rader said the Walk for Recovery was being held in lieu of the annual fundraiser 5K run the Lewis County Drug Court Foundation usually holds, which isn’t being held this year due to budgetary issues.

“We still felt it was important to do something,” Rader said.

Graduates and current enrollees of Drug Court still wanted to have some sort of event to get out into the community, fellowship and spread awareness about substance abuse, addiction and their consequences.

Those consequences can be fatal, with the fentanyl crisis still claiming lives daily across the nation, and those in the recovery process are still in danger.

“I wasn’t super involved in Drug Court alumni stuff before, but after my brother Blake (Hansen) passed away right after graduating, I think it’s important for us alumni to keep participants engaged, especially after they graduate,” Rader said.

While he successfully graduated Drug Court after entering it in 2022, Hansen relapsed shortly after and overdosed.

“A day before, he was in the Drug Court office, saying, ‘Hey, I messed up, I need help,’ and that night he died,” Rader said.

Drug Court staff attempted to provide Hansen with assistance but it wasn’t going to be available until a later date, Rader said.

While the foundation couldn’t help organize the walk this year, it was still able to donate funds toward the Walk for Recovery.

“We were able to get $1,000 from the foundation that went toward the shirts,” Rader said.

She said Evan Nelson, of Lewis County Vending in Chehalis, also donated $200 toward getting shirts for the event. Rader’s friend, Jamie Lockhart, donated food for the event, as after the walk ends, hot dogs will be available for participants.

The community is invited to join in on the walk, which will go down Main Street to Pearl Street, past Fuller’s Shop’n Kart, then down Tower Avenue through downtown Centralia to Second Street. After turning on Second Street, walkers will head back south down Pearl Street toward Main Street and back to Gather Church.

Along with any interested community members, members of the Centralia Police

Department and Lewis County Sheriff’s Office have been invited to join the walk.

“I think it’s important to make that connection between people in recovery and the police, because there are stigmas that both police and addicts are bad, so for them to show their support would be super cool,” Rader said.

May is also National Treatment Court Month, which includes not only drug courts but also mental health courts and family recovery courts.

In Washington, there are more than 150 different treatment courts — including the Lewis County Drug Court — according to the Washington state Administrative Office of the Courts.

Rader went through Lewis County Drug Court after her own experiences dealing with homelessness and drug abuse. She has now been sober for more than six years.

Drug Court was created in 2004 and is a voluntary program for addicts charged with a felony, according to Drug Court Program Manager Stephanie Miller.

The program targets high need and high risk offenders with a poor prognosis for success on their own. It aids them with structure and support using a three-phase recovery program. Drug Court lasts a minimum of 16 months, with most participants graduating after 19 to 22 months.

To graduate, a Drug Court participant must have a full-time job and stable housing, complete recommended treatment, stay clean for at least six months and be in the program for at least 16 months. Participants must also have a sober mentor and pay any court-ordered fines and restitution stemming from their case, Miller added. Once a person graduates, their charges are dismissed.

Snohomish County Celebrates Therapeutic Court Month

The Snohomish County Council entered a resolution recognizing May 2024 as National Treatment Court Month in Snohomish County.

Snohomish County Recovery Courts participated in the 1st Annual Spring into Recovery Event at Funko Field. The event was a resource and community fair coupled with an Everett AquaSox baseball game. Over 200 Recovery Court participants, team members, and community partners attended the game!

Judge Joseph Wilson throws out the first pitch.

Let’s go AquaSox!

Jamie Reed (Snohomish County Superior Therapeutic Courts Program Administrator), Luke Emerson, and Skyler Willian working hard to share resources and information to those in need.