I interviewed Sean Daly at Koinonia Farm in Americus, Georgia. From Nyack, New York, he was here with his wife Patti to do some volunteer work. Sean is retired from the drug and alcohol field, which he worked in for some 30 years. He said the “economics” of drug and alcohol abuse are staggering. That is, there are all the medical costs associated with treating alcoholics and drug addicts. Then there are all the medical costs (mental health problems, stress related physical diseases…) of treating the spouse and children of an alcoholic/addict. The burden on society then continues with incarceration costs (drugs or alcohol play a part in a majority of major crimes); diminished productivity in the work place; drunk driving offenses… Daly said he is a big proponent of the relatively new “Drug Courts,” which have been starting up all over the country. (We researched one in Needles, California, several years ago and found the dynamics of the program to be excellent.) In lieu of jail time for first offenders with drug or alchol problems, people are referred to intensive outpatient treatment that includes regular individual and group counseling, involvement with AA or NA, regular drug screens… As a former drug and alcohol counselor myself, it’s my opinion the more comprehensive a program is, the better the chance for long-term clean time… Later in the day, I interviewed Nashua Chantal, 53. He was 19-years-old when he committed a first degree felony that landed him in prison in California. Among other things, he said a precipitating factor was drugs and alcohol. The Rehabilitation Act was in effect in California at the time. The cutting edge Act provided for a tremendous amount of rehabilitation options for prisoners. Nashua said got his high school GED in prison and completed lengthy trade courses in cabinetry, upholstery, drafting and sheet metal. What’s more, he opted for six years of extensive mental health counseling in prison to work on issues that, not only may have helped lead to the crime, but issues that were keeping him from leading a relatively normal life in general. In addition, he became quite an accomplished pitcher in the prison baseball league… After 14 years, Nashua was released. While the transition to the outside was difficult, he worked as a pipe fitter, a woodworker, and after a time, started his own upholstery business. He also played semi-pro baseball for a number of summers. And he eventually came to Koinonia Farm, where he is now living and working in this “intentional Christian community.” And from everything we’ve observed here, Nashua is a tremendous assett, no only to fellow community members, but to many of the visitors who come to Koinonia. In addition, Nashua regularly writes to some 50 prisoners. And he has helped start the organization “Peace Knows,” which advocates for peace and non-violence… The amount of lives Nashua has touched in a postive way since he’s gotten out of prison has been, well, many. However, without California’s Rehabilitation Act and Nashua’s desire to apply himself, I couldn’t help but wonder what the odds of this story coming out the same would have been? Note: A Koinonia Community member told me she had recently come from a story telling session with some area seniors. She said one of the men said back in “his day” there used to be quite a drug problem in the area. “Yeah, we was always getting ‘drugged’ to the wood shed for this, or that,” he smiled.