Mulvaney: Drug court changed my life

Published 1:38 am Saturday, September 29, 2012

Two words changed former addict Trista Mulvaney’s life – drug court.

Mulvaney, 26, said she’s always smoked pot.

“I got in trouble when I was 19,” she said. “I got probation, and I quit.”

Mulvaney even got a good job at a Hyundai plant, but then she got hurt.

“The doctor prescribed me pain pills,” she said. “I started taking more and more. I started with one at a time, moved up to three at a time and then to 10 at a time.”

Then to make things worse, her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, which sent Mulvaney into a downward spiral.

“I was taking, Xanax and Wellbutrin,” she said. “Then I got into trouble last year.”

Mulvaney was arrested in July 2011 for second-degree possession of marijuana and then arrested again in August for possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of controlled substance and DUI.

“I got a DUI for Xanax,” she said. “And I got caught with Lortab. My son was with me, and he watched me go to jail. I’m thankful I didn’t get charged with child endangerment.”

Mulvaney was arrested again in September, when she showed up for court.

“I got arrested for public intoxication for Xanax,” she said. “I lost my son. My mom was about to get temporary custody.”

Mulvaney said that she met with her probation officer, Jeff Jeter, and he had her bond revoked and she was sent to the Covington County Jail.

“Five days later, I woke up in ICU in Dothan,” she said. “I quit taking all of my pills at one time because I wanted to get my life straight so I could get my son back. I had a massive seizure in jail from withdrawing.”

When Mulvaney awoke in ICU, she said, she saw her father crying.

“I said, ‘never again,’” she said. “I got out just in time for my grandmother to pass away. Then I got sent to Luverne to the psych ward.”

From there, Mulvaney went to rehab for four months, but was able to get into the Covington County drug court program, which allowed her to come home from rehab two months early.

Drug court is typically for first-time offenders who are charged with possession – not distribution – of illegal drugs or a drug-related crime.

The person pleads guilty, and gets a suspended sentence. Then, individualized plans are developed, usually beginning with rehab. Participants meet regularly with a case manager, have periodic drug tests, work with court referral officers and attend classes. They are encouraged to seek employment and to pay their fines.

Mulvaney pled guilty to unlawful possession of controlled substance in March 2012 and was sentenced to drug court.

“I’m thankful for drug court,” she said. “They drug test you once a week, sometimes more. They care unlike anyone in Covington County. Drug court is awesome; hard, but awesome.”

Mulvaney is slated to graduate from drug court in February, is in the process of getting custody of her son back and said that Jeter has released her from probation.

“I love Erica (Thomasson), Ashley (Tyson) and Hunter (Kinsaul),” she said of the staff at drug court.