More than 100 people participate in ‘Walk for Recovery’ in Centralia

Lewis County Drug Court graduates organize event to raise awareness, show support


More than 100 people — including Lewis County Drug Court enrollees and alumni, their families and friends, and Lewis County Commissioner Lindsey Pollock — joined together Monday for a “Walk for Recovery” through downtown Centralia.

Drug Court enrollees and graduates worked to organize the Walk for Recovery this year after the Lewis County Drug Court Foundation announced it wouldn’t be able to organize the annual fundraiser 5K run due to budgetary issues, said Leah Rader, one of the event’s organizers and a Drug Court alumnus.

“Addiction used to be such a secret. But now that it is killing so many people daily, this is why we recover out loud. This is why we need to spread awareness,” Rader told The Chronicle. “So people don’t need to feel alone or ashamed. None of us wanted to be addicts. It was probably the worst part of our lives, but it happened to us. And all we can do now is make the best of our lives now and spread awareness, and try to save others who are deep in that hole.”

The goal was to still have an event — like the 5K — where everyone could come together for fellowship and to spread awareness about the dangers of addiction, especially amid the fentanyl epidemic. 

“This turnout is amazing. It was way more than I expected,” Rader said.

Those who participated took a stroll starting from Gather Church’s cafe on Main Street. They walked to Pearl Street and eventually over to Tower Avenue, where they turned north and walked to Second Street. From there, they turned back toward Pearl and walked back to the Gather Cafe.

May is National Treatment Court Month, which includes not only drug courts, but also mental health and family recovery courts.

In Washington, there are more than 150 different treatment courts — including the Lewis County Drug Court — according to the Washington state Administrative Office of the Courts.

Lewis County Drug Court was created in 2004 and is a voluntary program for addicts charged with a felony, according to Drug Court Program Manager Stephanie Miller.

The program targets high need and high risk offenders with a poor prognosis for success on their own. It aids them with structure and support using a three-phase recovery program. Drug Court lasts a minimum of 16 months, with most participants graduating after 19 to 22 months.

To graduate, a Drug Court participant must have a full-time job and stable housing, complete recommended treatment, stay clean for at least six months and be in the program for at least 16 months. Participants must also have a sober mentor and pay any court-ordered fines and restitution stemming from their case, Miller added. Once a person graduates, their charges are dismissed.

For those who missed the Walk for Recovery, donations can still be made toward the Lewis County Drug Court program. Contact Miller via email at ​​ or call her at 360-740-2731 to learn how to donate.