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Special Court Aids St. Louis Veterans with Drug Trouble

By Valerie Schremp Hahn - St. Louis Post Dispatch


ST. LOUIS • Nick wanted to kill himself with heroin.

He was already dealing with horrible images seared into his brain as an Army infantryman who was in the Pentagon during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Then two years later, he was almost killed in a car crash.

And nearly two years ago, his 2-year-old son was killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident. Nick was sitting with him on the vehicle when the boy apparently hit the throttle. Nick fell off the back, and the ATV struck a tree with the toddler still aboard.

Nick, who did not want his full name used in this story for fear of damaging his business, said he wanted to die, too. He went from a clean-cut veteran who had never used drugs to a heroin addict. "I was using it as a means to an end," he recalls.

Nick was eventually charged with drug possession.

But this month, Nick, 31, of Eureka, is set to graduate from Veterans Treatment Court, a special program started in last January as part of the St. Louis Circuit Court.

The program is rigorous. Participants — all of them non-violent offenders — must attend support group meetings, submit to random drug tests and meet frequently with a judge and representatives of the Veterans Administration.

"It's a little like the military," said Nick. "They force you to do something and you learn from it. It's one of the best things you've ever done, but you never want to do it again."

About 12 veterans are attending the court in St. Louis. If they successfully complete the steps, the charges against them will be wiped from their records or they may be released early from court supervision.

The process takes from a year to around 18 months; Nick is set to be one of the first graduates.

Reentry One-Stop Career Center (REOS)

From The SAMHSA National GAINS Center's December 2010 eNews

Missouri's Reentry One-Stop Career Center (REOS) aims to reduce recidivism by collaborating with community organizations to link justice-involved individuals to services to assist their transition back into the community. Services include employment, vocational training, housing assistance, substance abuse, health/mental health counseling, screenings and referrals. Through a partnership with New Beginnings C-Star Program, REOS provides outpatient counseling to adults and adolescents. The Reentry One-Stop Career Center was developed in collaboration with SLATE (St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment), Missouri Probation & Parole and U.S. Probation (Eastern District of Missouri). For more information on Missouri's new Reentry One Stop Career Center (REOS) visit

The SAMHSA National GAINS Center would like to know more about what is happening in your community. To share information about new programs or to highlight an innovative program in your area, send information to the GAINS Center at

Lutheran Foundation Continues Support of STAR

ARCHS is pleased to announce it has received a grant from Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis for $10,000 to provide strategic management support to St. Louis Alliance for Reentry (STAR) as it connects re-entry individuals to agencies working in coordination to strengthen the delivery of human and social services. The mission of STAR is to integrate successful intervention principles and practices resulting in collaborative partnerships that enhance ex-offender self-sufficiency, reduce recidivism, and improve public safety and community health in St. Louis City and County.

City Youth Foundation Seeking Support for Ex-Offender Program

The Builders of Life and the City Youth Foundation is currently recruiting members and volunteers to assist with developing programs for area youth and ex-offenders for the 2011-2012 calendar. If you are an artist ages 8-23 and want to either create an event, art exhibit, show, ensemble, musical, play or concert - sign up at the Barr Branch Library (1701 S. Jefferson) on January 8 and February 5 from 10am-2pm, the Buder Branch Library (4401 Hampton Avenue) on January 12 and February 29 from 10am-2pm, or the Machacek Branch Library (6424 Scanlan Avenue) on January 22 or February 26 from 10am-2pm.


Those who are interested in volunteering in any capacity then please visit the link below for more information. If you have any talent or know anyone with experience in art, dance, drama, fashions, music or photography - please share the information with them! No auditions required!


To find out more information on volunteering for the City Youth Foundation, click HERE.

2010 MO Reentry Conference a Success

ARCHS' Chief Executive Officer Wendell E. Kimbrough with Department Directors for the State of Missouri at the 2010 Missouri Reentry Conference. From left are, Kimbrough, Keith Schafer (Department of Mental Health), Alana Barragan-Scott (Department of Revenue), George Lombardi (Department of Corrections), Gary Waint (Office of the State Courts Administrator), David Kerr (Department of Economic Development), Brian Kinkade (Department of Social Services) and Bill Dent (Manager for Family and Community Trust).The 2010 Missouri Reentry Conference was an overwhelming success as over 300 people packed the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach from Nov. 17-19. The conference featured keynote speakers and dozens of workshops by corrections, reentry, social service and workforce development experts.

Featured speakers included ARCHS' Chief Executive Officer Wendell E. Kimbrough, Manager of the Missouri Family and Community Trust Bill Dent, Missouri Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi, Director of Missouri Economic Research and Information Center Dr. Marty Romitti, Justice Center Council of State Governments Leah Kane, St. Louis Chief Juvenile Court Judge Jimmie Edwards and Missouri Foundation for Health MPA-Director Sally Haywood.

The Director's Panel gave attendees the opportunity for a Q&A with Directors from the Missouri Departments of Corrections, Social Services, Revenue, Mental Health, Economic Development and the Office of the State Courts Administrator.

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