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A show of compassion and empathy in gathering on recovery courts

Catie Urquhart, a volunteer with the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, helped plant some of the 20,000 purple flags on Boston Common on Aug. 29 to mark Overdose Awareness Day and kick off Recovery Month. The flags represent the lives lost to overdose in Massachusetts over the past 10 years.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Last week I attended a conference in Danvers called “Recovery Courts/Drug Courts: Where Justice, Treatment, and Recovery Meet — Moving Forward.” I am a defense attorney and work in the New Bedford Recovery Court. Recovery court is successful because of the hard work and dedication of many different people who do many different jobs. This conference was attended by hundreds of people throughout New England, with the same goal in mind: to help people through the horrors of addiction.

In attendance were prosecutors, police, judges, defense attorneys, clinicians, psychiatrists, probation officers, and people recovering from addiction. It was inspiring to see all of these people come together with the common goal of working together to try to help other people. No one has all the answers, but everyone in that room agreed that jail for these nonviolent offenders was not the solution.


The compassion and empathy of the people gathered in that room was enough to instill hope for anyone who is struggling, or knows someone who is struggling, with the terrible disease of addiction.

Jeremy Waxler

South Dartmouth