5 grads complete local drug treatment court, look forward to healthier lives ahead

Judge Jill Eichenwald celebrates Kelly Schullo, one of the drug treatment court graduates,...
Judge Jill Eichenwald celebrates Kelly Schullo, one of the drug treatment court graduates, during a special ceremony Friday.(Northern News Now)
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 3:37 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN -- There was a big reason to celebrate at Duluth St. Louis County Courthouse Friday, as five people graduated from the region’s drug treatment program and continued on their journey toward healthier lives.

The Sixth Judicial District’s drug treatment program includes five phases and takes at least 14 months to complete.

Throughout that time, the courts, probation officers, law enforcement, treatment providers, community partners and more all work together to help participants move away from drug addiction and reduce re-offending rates.

“Treatment courts advance public safety through accountability, treatment and support,” St. Louis County and Drug Court Judge Jill Eichenwald said. “Our clients are challenged to confront their issues and we work together to achieve health and safety. We see incredible success, lives renewed and restored, and tremendous reductions in recidivism, all while saving costs compared to traditional responses.”

One of the five people to graduate from the program Friday was Kelly Schullo.

As a mom of two who had struggled with drug addiction, Schullo said the program was the motivation she needed to help break old habits and create a better life for her and her daughters.

“She needs a mom. She needs a role model, someone to look up to,” Schullo said. “Not someone who’s stuck on the streets strung out on drugs.”

“I’m ecstatic right now,” Schullo added. “Very proud to be where I am at today and moving forward.”

Other people still moving through the drug treatment court were able to watch Friday’s ceremony, something organizers hope serves as motivation for them to one day complete the program themselves.

Friday’s graduating group was the largest since the COVID-19 pandemic began, which greatly challenged both the participants and those in charge of helping them.

Click here to learn more about the drug treatment court and the seven other similar programs serving the Sixth Judicial District.