Tuesday, February 7, 2023 Feb 7, 2023
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Stickin’ It To ’Em

Judge claims needle-for-needle cure works.
By D Magazine |

“IT’S WEIRD, BUT IT WORKS,” says one of the toughest-not to mention tersest- judges in Tarrant County when asked why she’s been sentencing hard-core drug abusers to acupuncture. “I don’t know how it works,” admits Criminal Judge Sharen Wilson, “but it’s been frighteningly successful.”

Actually, it’s hard to say what’s more surprising-the fact that Wilson has ordered 27 drug probationers to undergo this ancient Chinese treatment, or that it actually seems to halt their craving for dope and keep them out of jail. Since last April, 13 defendants have completed the four-month program that combines acupuncture with psychological counseling at Mansfield Community Corrections Facility. Amazingly, 12 have kept clean. Dr. Khairi Mubarak, the Oriental Medicine doctor in charge, says the word has spread around the center and now about 50 other addicts at Mansfield-who were not sentenced by Wilson-want her permission to try the treatment.

Like most people. Judge Wilson considered acupuncture when other options failed. Prison was proving an unsuccessful deterrent to drug use, and traditional substance-abuse programs were ineffective. When she heard that judges in New York and Florida were prescribing this ancient medicine, she decided to use it here as “a last chance thing.” In her courtroom, when drug abusers who have flunked out of other detox programs are given the choice between jail or needles, not surprisingly, they choose needles-four around each ear, thrce times a week, for 45-minute sessions.

Wilson, who claims she once “goofed around” with the hair-thin, halt-inch long instruments just to make sure they weren’t painful, says she has every intention of sticking to her sentencing of choice-crazy as it may seem to her robed colleagues. “They think I’m nuts,” she says, “but my gosh, it’s acupuncture. I mean who understands that?”