State grant bolsters 37th District Treatment Court

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The 37th District Treatment Court in Warren has been awarded a $96,000 grant from the Michigan Drug Court Grant Program administered by the State Court Administrative Office.

Treatment Court Judge Matthew Sabaugh credited Project Director Donna Cilluffo for her efforts in securing the funding.

“Since Donna became our program director, we have continued to operate at full capacity helping those in need of treatment,” he said in announcing the grant. “We have adopted Covid-safe procedures to continue to save lives and help our participants recover from substance use disorder.”

Cilluffo took over as director late last year after working as a case manager for more than 13 years.

While treatment court funding is mostly dependent on state and federal grants, Sabaugh said such grants are not guaranteed.

“The success of problem-solving courts nationwide is a great thing, but it also means an increase in the number of courts competing for grant dollars,” he said. “Of course, there are  no guarantees with grant funding.

“We appreciate the Michigan Drug Court Program for recognizing our program with this generous award.”

The Treatment Court includes both the Drug Court and the Sobriety Court, which are structured and intense probation programs.

A big part of the program involves bringing participants back into the community through various activities and community service, Sabaugh said.

“Psychologists tell us that the opposite of addiction is connection,” Sabaugh said. “Making those connections is a significant part of our program.”

The Covid-19 pandemic, he said, “was especially hard on those already suffering from substance use disorder.

“Access to treatment and peer recovery meetings was limited,” he said. “Luckily, we were able to see our participants remotely via Zoom conferences and support them through this difficult time.”

Since the program began in 1999 — one of the first in the state and the first in Macomb County — more than 600 people have graduated. Those who successfully complete the program often see the criminal charges filed against them dropped or significantly reduced, according to court officials.

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