Social distancing guidelines mean the services Utah drug courts provide have been drastically cut back and altered. Earlier this week, we looked at how staff at the Bear River Health Department are adapting to meet safety guidelines. Now, we share with you the experience of one drug court participant.
“We're told not to isolate. We're told to reach out. We're told to, you know, go to meetings when we're feeling stressed. To be told not to do that anymore was a lot. Because, you know, like, we all want to be there for each other,” said Chandler Lindley.
Lindley has been signed on to one of the drug courts run by the Bear River Health Department in Northern Utah since October. She credits the system with saving her life and said that the safety precautions taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic severely limit the services she and others in drug court are able to use.
“Seeing my friends struggling right now, it's been really hard,” Lindley said. “I've been able to remain clean through this, but seeing some of them fall off and, you know, kind of get lost in all of this madness has been really hard because there's not much anybody can do right now. Not even anybody in drug court.”
Lindley considers herself lucky-- she is still able to work-- and that keeps her busy. Although she said she thinks about using addictive substances less now, she still isn’t sure what she would do if she was out of work and had all that time on her hands.
Although court proceedings and official in-person visits have been suspended, Lindley said she has been visiting with her counselor weekly over the phone. It isn’t the same as in person, but she said it is much better than completely losing that resource.
And while direction has been given to stop gathering with individuals outside of your household, Lindley said some small support groups are still meeting. They are taking precautions like trying to limit person to person contact and sanitizing things. This does come with risks, but Lindley said the risk of relapsing that not going to meetings can bring is also real.
“Drug Court is on hold,” Lindley said, “but our recovery is not.”
Lindley said she hopes in the coming months, as the weather warms up, that there may be more resources available to her and her fellow drug court participants. And she hopes that they will be able to hold on long enough until they have access to them.