HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE OPENING CEREMONY

 

NADCP’s 19th Annual Training Conference officially kicked off with an unforgettable opening ceremony featuring celebrities, federal leaders, and incredible testimony from Drug Court graduates. Following a special message from international recording artists Montgomery Gentry, NADCP CEO West Huddleston kicked things off by welcoming over 4,000 professionals to Washington, DC. “It is my greatest wish that you will return home filled with more knowledge, more skills than ever before. But also more strength, more hope, more faith and more love so that you can better serve those who are so badly suffering the despair of addiction this morning,” he said. “You are their lifeline; they just don’t know it yet!”


 

 

 

L to R: former Drug Court Judge Gay Polk-Payton delivers a rousing National Anthem. NADCP CEO West Huddleston welcomes attendees.


Following a rousing conference overview by NDCI Senior Director Carolyn Hardin, and incredible highlights from NADCP’s All Rise America! cross country tour of Drug Courts, Bureau of Justice Assistance Director Denise O’Donnell took the stage to thank all Drug Court professionals for their work.

 

 

L to R: NDCI Senior Director Carolyn Hardin. NADCP Director of Development Kristen Daugherty and Director of Communications Chris Deutsch with the All Rise Gavel.



“Let me thank each and every one of you for your critical, life-saving and transformative work,” she said. “The Bureau of Justice Assistance is so proud to be a partner with all of you in the very important work that you do.”

Deputy Attorney General James Cole was on hand to discuss the Justice Department’s support for Drug Courts and the expansion of the model to the Federal level. “The Department of Justice has witnessed your impressive results firsthand and is proud to be your partner and to support so many Drug Court programs across America,” he said. “You are the leaders in creating safer communities, and frankly I look forward to building on the partnership that has already begun and that has been so productive.”

 

L to R: BJA Director Denise O'Donnell. Deputy Attorney General James Cole.


It wouldn’t be an NADCP conference without All Rise Ambassador Matthew Perry who was on hand for his fourth consecutive appearance. Perry had the honor of introducing the Parade of Transformation. “These men and women are the true voices of recovery,” he said. “They are a testament to the work that you do every day. There is a popular sentiment in the world that people can’t change. Well, you are about to see cold, hard evidence that this is not the case. I present to you your 2013 Parade of Transformation.”

 

L to R: All Rise Ambassador Matthew Perry introduces the 2013 Parade of Transformation. A teary Drug Court graduate looks on as her daughter thanks Drug Courts.

 





This year brought several fresh faces to Washington, DC including actress and best-selling author Kristen Johnston. Johnston talked about her effort to create the first recovery high school in New York City and thanked Drug Court for helping to break down the barriers to treatment. “What Drug Courts are doing is treating people with respect, acknowledging that they have a disease, that there is hope and that there is a way out,” she said. “That is why I admire so much what you are doing.”

The final speaker of the morning was a familiar face to anyone working in Drug Court. White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske provided keynote remarks that reiterated the Administration’s support for Drug Courts and highlighted the critical role they play in our national drug control strategy. “Drug Courts have changed the way we think about reforming criminal justice,” he said. “It isn’t about a war on drugs; it is about the fact that we are not going to incarcerate our way out of this problem. You are the face of criminal justice reform.”

 

 

L to R: Actress/Author Kristen Johnston. ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske

 

More Pics from the Opening Ceremony