Graduates from Pima County’s Drug Court and DTAP celebrate their second chance

Updated: Mar. 4, 2021 at 10:15 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County residents celebrated a special graduation from Pima County’s Drug Court and Attorney’s Office DTAP (Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison).

One of the graduates was Natasha Kofira, a mom of two, who has battled addiction for years.

“I ended up homeless and living on the streets for a couple years. I was so far in a hole that it was impossible for me to get out of,” said Kofira. “It started out with pills and went to cheaper—heroin.”

Her addiction led to several criminal charges, and eventually lead to her arrest in April 2020. Kofira served several months in jail. It’s there that she found her second chance through Pima County’s drug court.

“The combination that drug court provides with the probation and therapy—they help you get on track with life. It’s crazy,” said Kofira.

The program focuses on recovery and rehabilitation, something that’s a little hard to do from a distance. So having the pandemic hit right at the start of Kofira’s treatment, not only posed a challenge for her, but for the program.

“The pandemic was really difficult for us to help them without being able to go out and see them,” said Kofira’s Probation Officer, Regina Carrillo.

Carillo said drug court had to move entirely online, doing Zoom sessions weekly to check in. It’s something they worked to stay on top of knowing how tough isolation can be.

“I think isolation in general, especially for addicts, it makes it really difficult to stay clean,” said Kofira.

Still, 22 graduates in Drug Court and DTAP made it through and received their diploma Thursday to make it official.

“We get to know where they came from and where they want to go. And to actually see them get there, it brings tears to your eyes because they’ve become a part of your family,” said Carillo.

While this may be the end of Kofira’s program, for her, it feels more like the start to her second chance.

“If you just turn your life over to people who are trying to help you it’s possible. And I honestly think it did save my life,” said Kofira.

Since 2005, almost 500 participants have successfully graduated from the Drug Court program, a collaboration between the Superior Court, local justice partners, and various treatment providers in our community. Drug Court addresses the underlying causes of criminal behavior. It focuses on recovery and rehabilitation rather than punishment, blending justice with ongoing treatment and enabling individuals to become healthy, productive members of our community.

The Pima County Attorney’s Office has offered DTAP’s three-year drug treatment program since 2010. The only program of its kind in Arizona, DTAP focuses on individuals considered to be high risk/high need. It provides residential drug treatment as well as wraparound recovery support services and has celebrated more than 100 successful graduations to date.

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