Two Boston men are the first individuals to complete CHART, the Charlestown Addiction Recovery Treatment, the alternative drug recovery and treatment program. The program launched last year through a partnership between the Charlestown Division of the Boston Municipal Court (BMC), its Probation Department, and the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition. The celebration was held at the Boston Municipal Court House in Charlestown.
CHART is a specialized court session which helps individuals on probation who suffer with chronic substance abuse. Gilbert Peterson, 33, and Jouseph Martinez, 24, voluntarily participated in court-stipulated drug treatment as an alternative to prison. A U.S. Department of Justice drug court study found that, when appropriately implemented, drug courts can reduce recidivism, decrease the chances of future drug use, and promote positive cost-saving outcomes.
Peterson said the first substance he used was marijuana, and later on he became addicted to heroin.”I decided to enroll in drug court because I wanted a better life, a sober life. I know I was an addict, and I needed help with my addiction. I have tried to quit so many times. I just wasn’t ready to stop at the time.”
His treatment and recovery process included going to meetings with groups and with addiction counselors and working as a cook. Getting sober this time was different. “This time I was ready. I’m 33 years old. I have a family. Charlestown Drug Court was the program to help me.”
Peterson said the completion of his drug court sentence made him feel ecstatic. “I’ve been sober for two years. I’m thrilled every day. I have had total support from my family.”
Martinez started using marijuana when he was 12 years old. He later used cocaine, pills and heroin. “I realized that I had a problem when I started stealing from everybody. I looked at myself in the mirror, and said to myself, ‘That’s not me’.” He said that his drug court sentence worked for him because he kept busy with a routine of meetings and appointments. At Project Place, Martinez took English lessons to improve his speaking and writing skills. He received help writing a resume, looking and interviewing for jobs and finally getting hired at the Atlantic Fish restaurant. “I have goals now. I have earned a Customer Service certificate and my GED. I want to go to Bunker Hill Community College in their nursing program. I want to find permanent housing.”