Diego Trujillo, the host of the HEALS Pod, welcomes Judge Cynthia Dustin Cruz from Las Vegas Justice Court Department 5 as his guest on the latest episode. Judge Cruz specializes in adult drug court and DUI repeat offender court, which aim to connect treatment and wraparound services with judicial oversight to help individuals struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues.

During the episode, Judge Cruz shares insights into the evolution of specialty courts in Nevada and the impact of grant funding on court programs. She discusses how the funding has enabled the court to provide essential services like housing, medical care, and identification assistance to individuals in need. By removing financial barriers, the court can create a stable and supportive environment for individuals to focus on their recovery and rehabilitation.

The conversation delves into the importance of peer support and community involvement in the rehabilitation process. Judge Cruz emphasizes the role of accountability and guidance in helping individuals navigate their recovery journey. The funding has allowed the court to expand its services and offer more holistic support to those in the justice system.

Listen to the Podcast.

Full Transcript

And I’m Diego Trujillo, the host of the HEALS Pod, recorded here in Black Fire Innovation Center at UNLV. Very excited for another episode of Heels Pod. We’re very interested in being able to explore the topic today. I have a very interesting guest that has joined me. We recently connected at an event. It was an absolute pleasure, and we’ll get into the story of how that connection went. But with us today is joining us Judge Cynthia Dustin-Cruz from Las Vegas Justice Court Department 5. Did I get that correct? You got it correct. I know it’s a bit of a mouthful. Not the name, but rather the specific court where you serve.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Oh, the name is a mouthful too. I usually just affectionately go by Judge Cruz, but… Judge Cruz.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: It does make it a little simpler. It makes everyone feel a little more positive, like it’s going to go smoothly, right? Yes. It has a good name. Well, excellent. Thank you for coming on the show today. It was, uh, we had a very interesting connection at an event where I wasn’t expecting to have a run in. And for, for those of us listening, right, we’re setting up these different town halls and we’re trying to get, um, the voice of healthcare in front of our elected representatives. And, and sure enough, I go to this event and you walked up and you’re like, Hey, I’m running for judge. And I had brought up to the group that we’re planning all these events. I was like, what about judges? And they’re like, no, judges don’t really, you know, there’s not a lot. And that’s why I gave you the answer I gave you. Right. Because typically it’s very hard, right, for a judge, at least when it comes to health care. Well, normal, not normal judges, sorry, judges of other courts that are looking at different types of cases. And in your case, you are like, actually, you may be interested. So tell us a little bit about Justice Corps’ Department 5.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : So the Department 5 always throws everybody because everybody’s like, is that my district? What does that do? And Department 5 just means there are 16 judges on Las Vegas Justice Court. And you have to figure out where you’re going to assign cases to go. So that’s how they came up with departments. And so I’m one of 16. And then whenever there’s an election cycle, certain departments are up on the election cycle rotation. So that’s all that means.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Okay. Fantastic. And what kind of cases do you specialize in? We’ve connected on this. You made the connection. I want our listeners that immediately go, well, hold on. Why does he have a judge on, right? To make the connection for healthcare, because your answer was tremendous. And I, uh, I don’t have a history. I have been there before and was blown away at the work that that was being done at the court. And so I mentioned to you, I was like, well, you know, we’re really more healthcare focused and you, and you mentioned that you do a couple of interesting things that may impact healthcare here in the Valley.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : So right now, um, I, I’m the chief judge of the court. So I handle all the administrative duties, but I also do keep two specialized dockets and they are what’s called specialty courts. And one of them is an adult drug court and the other one is a DUI repeat offender court.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And in both of those, I think, I mean, it goes without saying for everyone listening impacts the lives of all of us that live here in Las Vegas.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Absolutely, because what a specialty court does is connect treatment type care with collateral wraparound services with the oversight of a judge, a district attorney, and a defense attorney. And we hold people accountable because sometimes there’s something that’s going on in their life. A lot of times it’s a substance abuse problem, it’s a mental health problem, and it’s causing them to get involved in the criminal justice system. Yeah. So our specialty courts are a way to get them to hopefully use treatment and our afferent services to not be involved in the court system anymore.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Absolutely. And I’ve, I’ve known, and just to, just to share with the listeners, because I had heard of drug court, right, uh, growing up and younger, and I’d kind of had some very, very distant connections. I’ll never forget one time someone from church, Uh, there was a gentleman that needed volunteer hours, and he was like, yeah, I’d like to volunteer, and he was in drug court, right? And so he started explaining a little bit about it was, what it was, and I was like, wow, this is a little in-depth. I thought you just, it’s a court, but they require drug tests, was basically it, right? Um, and- and that was my understanding of it. And I’ll never forget when he came very proud, he goes, hey guys, I’m graduating, I’d love to have you come out to my graduation. I was like, okay, yeah, we’ll- we’ll show up, thinking like, here’s your certificate, and… And I have never been so touched, um, emotionally by the legal system. I-I could not believe what I was witnessing. Um, typically, from my understanding growing up here, right, everything is very punitive. So, you’ve-you’ve done wrong. Here, sit in this cell, or this is your-this is your slap on the wrist. Um, and for the first time, all of a sudden, I saw a partnership between people and between the judges. And I’ll say this, very specifically, because as people are giving testimonials, right, I’m watching, you know, they show the before pictures, and this is what they look like when they came into the court. And then they would call the person up to give them their certificate, and at one point this gentleman comes up, and he goes, you know, and I forgot who was the judge at the time, he goes, you know, I was so furious with you when you sent me to this program. And he even started saying, I started looking up your address. I mean, everyone was like, all our hair kind of stood up like, wow. And he started tearing up and he goes, what you have done for me, you have changed my life and given me another. There wasn’t a single person in that room that wasn’t crying. I mean, and he just really documented the anger that he felt and everything. And the judge, I didn’t realize she was standing there. He was speaking to her. She was in the back of the room. She comes running to the front and gives him a hug. And again, I’m watching this, could not believe what had happened. And she just said, Hey, I’m so proud that you made it through. And again, he’s wiping tears away from his face. And just, it’s something I never expect. I was sharing with you before we started the podcast when I was a child, my dad, my dad was a court interpreter. And so sometimes, you know, my dad would take me along to court, I’d have to sit in all the different courts. And for me, right, it was always we were sharing earlier, the municipal court at 6 a.m., which was very early and very boring. It was the same infractions over and over. Everyone just kind of talked like it was very rote. Um, not a lot of emotion. I’d get excited because at 11, that’s when we’d go over to federal and then I’d get, oh, hey son, be quiet, but this is what the trial is about, right? And you’d see the intense cases and people testifying. And so it was always more exciting for me. I had never seen anything like this where the justice system was, uh, Again, it was almost as partnering, right? It didn’t feel like, hey, you messed up. You know you shouldn’t have done it. Here’s your punishment. But rather, hey, what’s going on? How can we fix this issue? And I think for the first time, you know, I watch documentaries on prisons in Norway and just different approaches. um, approaches to justice and rehabilitation, right? We want people to come back better as better citizens. And, you know, again, working in the community for a very long time, you saw a lot of people that would go away and they wouldn’t come out better. They just had more skills and more knowledge and more connections. It didn’t feel like there was actual rehabilitation. And for the first time in my life, I began to witness that. Has that been your experience as you’ve served? What was your interest? How did you delve into that?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : So, um, Prior to becoming on the bench, I did, one of my areas of practice was criminal defense. And so I would see people that were my clients and they would come in and I would listen to what these people were saying. And I started noticing, you know, okay, this person’s kind of fallen afoul of things because of a disease. And when I got on the bench, the judge at that time, so I got on the bench at the start, January 1st, 2013. And the judge that was presiding over that would occasionally have me cover because you can’t just sit there and say, oh, let me just get any body. You have to have somebody that has an understanding. And then that judge was planning on retiring. So, there was a discussion about me taking it over. And so, I started going to some a little bit more in-depth training because you can’t just walk into this and just be like, hey, here I am. Yeah, ready to go. It’s kind of like somebody saying, hey, here I am. I just want to jump into the medical field. Right. You have to have some training. And so, I started doing the training.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Well, it seems like it would require obviously an understanding of the legal system, but also you kind of need to delve out to specialize what is substance You know, substance use disorder, how are the different programs, what works, what doesn’t, etc.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Absolutely. And you have to understand, I mean, and so now we’ll hop into the medical aspect. You have to understand what’s going on with somebody’s brain. And you have to understand, you know, substance use addiction, it’s a disease. And once you start understanding how these pathways get opened up in the brain and It’s nothing different. I mean, you have people that are diabetic and, and there’s something with their body that it doesn’t produce certain things and it doesn’t do things in a certain way. And, and you’re going to have a similar issue with somebody that has an addiction. And, and so yes, I’ve, I’ve gone into the deep dives where they’ve brought in like neurologists and doctors to talk about. And there used to always be this mindset that it was completely abstinent based. You had to teach people to not use at all. And there’s really been an evolution of that to realize that there are certain addictions that really medicated management treatment can truly help somebody. And it’s not about, hey, we’re going to have this person, they’re going to be high. I mean, it’s the same thing when you see somebody with a mental health disorder. There are certain medications that can help them manage this. It’s just like any other disease.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: I would, and I would draw that same way. I was going to draw the correlation, for example, to Ozembic or these weight loss drugs, right? A lot of people are using them. They’re seeing great results, et cetera. Some people get upset because there’s kind of a cheap, but whatever that may be. I mean, people are achieving a lower weight in the same way. Um, and some people don’t believe whether, whether it’s biological or not, you know, our environment, whatever it may be in our nutrition growing up has affected that. And now there’s a medication that can help us manage that weight. It’s, it’s the same thing in this case, I would feel.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : It is. We have people that are, I mean, they’ve been addicted to a type of opioid for years and trying to get off an opioid when you’ve been addicted for years, sometimes you need an additional tool in your toolbox because they just white knuckle it for so long and then you have a relapse. And the problem is, is that when you start talking about opioids, A relapse can be even more deadly because if you want to go back and use the same dose, because a lot of times that’s what they go back to, now their body’s tolerance may have dropped and now you’re running into definitely a critical care situation with their system that they’re ODing and you don’t want to see that. You have to find that happy Marriott between where medicine intersects because yes, I do have people that are in my court that are very good manipulators and very good on the criminal thinking aspect. Right. But and getting Doctors and our medical care teams that work with addiction medicine understanding this populace is a little bit different. They do have drug seeking behavior and they’re going to be really great to tell you how many symptoms they’re having when they’re seeking something. and understanding, you know, hey, we have to work collaboratively and we have to have that the medical care team is reading what the rest of the treatment team’s notes are so that we can holistically treat this person. So when they’re telling this group A one thing but they’re telling group B something different and group C is something completely different and they’re telling me a whole different story. It’s always good because we work collaboratively together so that our teams are able to see what all these different stories are and then you’re able to know the whole picture and work better on treating someone.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Well, and I think the tool that you guys have in your toolbox, that is an incredible tool. And I’ll say this because there’s a person that I’ve known that was a 30-year methamphetamine user. He had learned to be a functional methamphetamine user. Eventually, you know, every six months would end up, you know, going on a bender and losing their job. And they found themselves in this constant mouse wheel. And it wasn’t, they would try to quit and I’m going to try to go clean and this and that. And it wasn’t until the, the, there was that issue with child support. And so he went to the court within the child support and the judge just asked him, Hey, do you, would you want to go to drug court? And at that moment that, that he was asked, he was living off Boulder Highway in like an RV, um, kind of hit the bottom of the barrel. And so, the question just came at the perfect time, and he said, yeah, sure, I’ll go to drug court. Again, thinking, yeah, it’s just, you know, it’s court, but with required urine screenings, right? And so, once he ended up going, I mean, he was able to quit using drugs, uh, he got clean, he’s been clean for about seven years now, and it just completely transformed his life. And you realize, Because you mentioned, right, a lot of people, we have this antiquated perspective on what, you know, they just need stronger character. They need to make the decision to, and I’m saying this as a Hispanic, because my God, I deal with this attitude a lot. And I would tell people, hey, you know, the drug use is a symptom, right? What you’re describing is a symptom of a deeper problem. And so while you want them to just quit using drugs, you’re not addressing the root problem. What is wrong? And you have this very unique tool in drug court where you have forced accountability, which I think is the number one. You know, when I talk to addicts working in the community, there’d be a lot of people that would get recommended to me working in church. They would bring them, and I would say, well, you know, you need to get clean. Look at these negative outcomes. And it was very interesting that they would just, yeah, no, I know I could get clean. I just, I cannot go to sober living. I cannot, I can do this on my own. I don’t need rehab. How many times have you tried to get clean? Oh, it’s probably 14 or 15 times. Okay. How has that worked for you? Right? Well, it hasn’t worked. I was like, the only thing that there, I was like, well, what are they doing there to you in there? And this was always my line of question. Are you being tortured? I mean, they must be doing some horrible things that you are just so dead set against going to a rehab. Well, no, not really. I was like, yeah, they’re making you wake up early. They’re making you take time to write down in journal. They’re making time for you to have a devotional. I mean, really all they’re doing is wanting to give your brain structure and you are fighting with everything in you to oppose that structure. But it’s not like they’re forcing you into labor or anything like this. I mean, all it is is, yeah, everybody wakes up at this time. You need to follow the rules. The minute they start giving you this structure, their brain just, it really wants to resist that, right? Especially after many, many years of continued use, you know, there’s not a steadiness in their life. And I’m giving you anecdotal information. I’m sure you have many studies, and as you’re researching in your role, and you’re watching this play out on a daily basis, no?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Oh, absolutely. I think probably the way that I can dial this in, not that I’m saying that we would do this, is how many people have been like, you know what? I want to lose five pounds, and I know I need to eat better, right? I need to stop eating these bad things. I’m just as guilty of this. But imagine if we sat there and said, Diego, every time you eat over a certain amount of calories, we’re going to know. And then we’re going to hold you accountable for that. And we’re going to start off with like, hey, you’re not able to and you’re going to come and tell me. I can do this on my own, right? And then pretty soon you keep going over that. And we finally are like, Diego, we, we’ve exhausted like every resource that we possibly can. Like we’re making your meals. Now you’re sneaking other foods. Like we’re working on all of it. And, and now you’re starting to exhibit lying and you’re exhibiting all these other behaviors. So I’m going to do something called, I’m going to put you in jail. to get your attention.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: We will definitely be able to manage.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Right. You know, that’s kind of, I mean, it’s a very simplistic way, but that’s what the threat is. It’s a carrot and a stick approach. And when people come into the drug court, they will start off and they are a lot of times saying they will take anything because they think the minute that they plead to say, I’m going to go do drug court, I’m going to get out of jail.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, they think it’s a get-out-of-jail-easy card.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : We have a lot of get-out-of-jail. And then I tell people, I am going to ask you to do some of the hardest things. I know what I’m going to ask of you is hard. And they’ll all be like, oh, no, I got it. I got it. I got it.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: As long as I’m not in jail. That’s all I think of, right?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : As long as I’m not, I call it, you know, we’re anti-blue outfit, anti-orange slipper shoes. And I tell everybody as I’m rolling them out of jail, like, unless you really like those orange slipper shoes, stay with the program. Because we do frequently have to roll people out. Everybody coming out into our program is on some form of electronic monitoring initially. OK. Because we tried it wherever they weren’t on electronic monitoring. You need a nice officer sometimes that wants to come and knock on your door at three o’clock in the morning and say, what are you doing out and about? So we have that accountability piece. Or if I do have to put them in sober living or residential treatment, it helps with that initial phase. And just like how you told me the story of people like um, the drug court that you watched. I have a lot of people that are very mad at me at the start. Yeah. Um, I have people that, you know, they want to try to see how much more they can try to outsmart us. And, and usually what causes people to end back in custody is either you, um, you either started not following rules or you started lying or it’s a behavior thing, or you just kind of tried to, wander off and not show up. You know, we usually don’t put people in custody for use, but I’ve had a lot of people tell me when I’ve had to put them in for like 24 hours, they’ll tell me that was the first time I went to jail sober. And they said, oh, it’s a big difference. It’s a lot worse. When you’re not drunk or high and you’ve got to do that, apparently it’s much worse. But that is, I mean, it’s a kind of treatment based and we’re more holistic on keeping an eye on people a lot more than sometimes. hey, I went in to do drug treatment on my own, outpatient, and I’m hopping into one, you know, two groups a week and one individual, but then the rest of the time I’m off on my own. And it really takes a community to help people in certain circumstances. Now, I’m not saying that there’s not other people that can make it happen on their own, but there are, unfortunately, some people that need that community to make that difference.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Well, and I think, again, right, so you have that saying, no man’s an island. And I think it exists for a reason. I mean, we’re social beings. And for a lot of times, there’s been failures in people’s lives, right, whether that be family. Again, I would work with young people, so I would always have the, you know, hey, my son’s punching holes in walls, and I caught, you know, I found a pipe in his room, and this and that, and they’d bring him to church on a Friday, and I’m like, You know, and they’d say, hey, is there anything you could do? And I was like, you know, I can’t undo what you didn’t do for the last ten years. I mean, I know you want a magic cure here, but, you know, when he was throwing fits and he was four years old, that’s when you should have addressed it. Now he’s a lot bigger, so it’s ending up being holes in walls. Um, and I would always tell them, you’re gonna find a limit, and it’s gonna be the hospital, it’s gonna be the morgue, or it’s gonna be the judicial system. But there is a limit to everyone and everything. And really, it’s just learning to have that self-accountability. And unfortunately, some people haven’t had that. And when they have the community of people, for me, when it comes to addiction, right, there’s a lot of failure rate. It’s very, very high. If medicine, right, I used to listen to a lot of Dr. Drew. This used to impassion me a lot. And so I just, you know, for entertainment purposes, would just learn a lot about addiction. And as Dr. Drew would always talk about the accountability portion, he would talk about what it was like for a person that was an addict. And I would use those descriptions to tell parents, right? Hey, what would it take for you to rob from the person that you love most on this earth? Oh, man. And they would say, oh, I would never steal from my mother. No, I know. What would it take for you to do that? Oh, it would be an extreme desperation. Correct. That’s what they’re going through, right? And trying to take them to a place of empathy. And because of the failure rate, I mean, you look at how much modern medicine has progressed. Um, and then when it comes to addiction and recovery, that’s why I would always get into those talks about rehab. I was like, guys, uh, as much as modern medicine has progressed in every level in treatments of diseases and things like that, 12-step programs and, you know, rehab, um, stepping out and getting that accountability, learning to put limits on yourself so that they’re not placed on you. I mean, those are all very, very intense. I-I’m… I think as you, uh, as you work in the court with these individuals, it’s something that you must consistently see.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Absolutely. We do tell people, like, I frequently say, you know, I’ll get a lot of people, well, you’re doing this to me and you’re doing this to me. And I go, no, I’m not doing anything to you. Your decisions are what’s causing a reaction. So I tell everybody, you’re driving the bus. I’m going to hold your hand and I’m going to try to help, you know, guide you while you’re driving the bus. But you’re the person who’s in control. So if you want to take charge, you know, I’m going to give you every tool. We’re going to build a great bus. We’re going to give you a great engine and we’re going to help teach you how to most effectively drive that bus down the road. But if you want to just kind of, you know, stare off into the wild blue yonder, you know, if we’re working harder than you, then maybe this isn’t where you’re ready yet. And so many of the people that come into any treatment court, I hate to use the word baggage, but there is, they have a lot of learned experiences. And there is a lot of trauma. There is a lot that’s triggering them. And then what’s really kind of disheartening was that we have people that, you know, the more that I interact and the more that I talk to people, and I will have people and they’re doing great and suddenly they’re not. And I’m like, what’s going on? You’ve been doing so well. You, you know, you come in and you’re positive. And I have people that will literally sit there and say, yeah. And I felt guilty because I was happy. I felt guilty that things were going on good for me because I know people that it’s not. And I said, you know, so now we’re really starting to look into, you know, on that treatment aspect, you know, do we need to roll in almost like kind of a quasi survivor therapy because a lot of these people have almost like a survivor’s guilt. I also have people that have lost a sense of self-worth and that we need to tell them that they are worth a lot of this. And this is stuff that’s really started coming out in my treatment courts that is we’ve really started talking to people. I’m going to say probably in the last two years, we’re starting to hear it a lot more. And I don’t know if it’s just as treatments evolved, whether I’ve evolved as to what questions that I’m asking. You know, we do a lot of motivational interviewing, but it’s kind of me and like, hey, you know, one minute you’re standing in front of me and I’m going to start asking some weird questions here and there. But we really have discovered that, you know, I’ve never figured out and it just boggled my mind as to how people could have guilt or shame for being happy.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Right. Well, you know, there’s a really good book I remember reading called The Body Keeps the Score. I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book. I’ve heard about it. Phenomenal book. And in it, he gives an example, right, of mice that were raised. They did an experiment on some mice that were raised in very harsh environments. They would have very little food, but they would have the option of going to a nice warm place where they could stay with lots of food. And they would put them in the cage and they would let the mice out. Some of the mice were raised in those more hospitable environments. And they noticed something. It is when a trigger would occur, when there would be a stressor, the mouse would run to what’s familiar, not what’s best for it. And I think sometimes especially as walking, you mentioned community, and some people can do it on their own, they may have the community themselves, but for people that are lacking that community, and I’ve worked with a lot of people, I’d say, hey, the brain has this way of telling you, I’m okay, I’m in control now, I’ve conquered this. It’s lying to you, it absolutely is not, you have not. And the moment you hit a stressor, that’s really the moment of, okay, that’s where the growth opportunity happens, because that’s where the hurt is. And I always teach my boys this, right? Everything on earth grows through suffering and pain. Right? If you have a tree, I’ll never forget when a gardener says, no, no, you got to loosen the tree because we had a little sapling, right? And it was growing. And I was like, well, shouldn’t we secure it a little more? It’s kind of loose inside of. And he goes, no, no, no. It has to be able to wiggle in the wind. If not, it will never develop a thicker, a thicker root system. And it won’t. I totally forgot the name of the center part of a tree. The stalk.


DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, the trunk. Oh my God. Yeah, the trunk won’t, won’t thicken. You need to allow it to wiggle and suffer a little bit in the wind. You can’t let it loose completely, but as, as that tree would grow, he’d give it a little more autonomy to be able to bend in the wind. And with that, it would eventually be able to establish the roots. And I think as people, you know, the stories that you’re, you’re sharing right now, right? People feeling that survival’s guilt, they find themselves in a place where they, they’ve never been okay. and all of a sudden being okay, it’s just an odd place. It’s definitely not familiar to them. And so having that support system to say, hey, this is what life can be, you know, and as you grow, you can also turn around and help people out. I think that’s where the peer-to-peer really kind of comes into play. And I would see it, I would always liken it to people. So I did bereavement, I was a bereavement coordinator in hospice for a long time. And it was very interesting. A lot of people in the community would know what I do. And one of the things would be, you know, you lose your mom, you lose your, you lose a sibling, things like that would happen in life. But then you’d have people that, you know, maybe there was a violent act. or a child that would die, and once they passed, it was very hard. You could sit in a group, but the brain would work the same. You could go to a group, I could sit here and give you counseling, I could sit here and tell you everything, but I haven’t lost a son. And at the end of the day, you’re always gonna be in the back of your mind, no matter what I tell you, you’re gonna say, yeah, I get that, that sounds logical, that sounds reasonable, but you haven’t gone what I’ve gone through. and that disconnect, right? And so I immediately learned with people that had lost children to immediately link them up with a group, a support group for people that have lost children because when they speak to you, it’s going to carry way more weight than anything that I could say because I simply have not gone through that experience.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : We do that. Peer support is so key. And, you know, you always it’s always been there. So when you look at the 12 steps and I’m going to pull on AA and NA. You know, they always talk about a sponsor. You know, you talk about your home group. These are people that have lived experiences, and that’s what a sponsor is. It’s somebody that’s going to hold you accountable, help walk you through in that learning process. And they’ve developed an entire profession, and it’s licensed now, and it’s a peer support specialist. And so not only is it critical and key and enormously helpful within the drug court realm, but they’re also having that in things like mental health courts, veterans treatment courts, they have mentors. It is, you know, everybody’s called it different things, but we’ve been all doing it for a long time, but they actually now, underneath the uh, legislature, they’ve actually codified the profession of peer support specialists now.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, I mean, you think of the human, the human experience, right? We’re going back, let’s say, 8,000, 10,000 years, right? There’s always been that example of someone that has more experience going before me and then taking me there. You look at that within trades, right? You always have the journeyman. And this goes back, even the famous artist Michelangelo, you’d always start out as just a helper, and this person would help to guide you and help to shape you. And sometimes, right, you take that down to childhood, our mother and our father, right? And if those examples weren’t there for us in a very solid way, they can really damage our ability to be able to follow somebody else. And so it’s really retraining everyone to, again, going back to that primal sense of being led, being guided, people that could say, hey, I’ve been in this, I’ve been through this experience. And this is the way that you push forward through this. As you hit those storms, or those challenges, or those triggers, the person can tell you, hey, everything that you’re wanting right now is bad for you. And you know it’s bad for you, and it’s going to lead to negative outcomes. But there’s a better way to do things, right? And so it’s making that conscious choice and helping to shift. That’s why I think this is, again, I would hear this a lot. And I used to live in Nicaragua. So again, you would always hear, well, you know, I just wish he had a stronger character. And I would sigh and be like, there’s a lot more to this. You think he just hasn’t thought of making the decision? Look at the situation he’s in. So being able to be able to support there, again, watching the court system do this to me was completely eye-opening to what kind of change was possible through the legal system. How easy has it been to lead this court? Are you guys pioneering? Is there a lot of precedent and experience that you guys can follow?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : So we are, I’m proud to say, I sit on a state committee and I’m proud to say we have a vast amount of specialty courts throughout the state of Nevada. So we’ve been doing this for a while. It’s evolved. We all evolve as we learn, you know, as we learn as to what’s going on. So, for example, Las Vegas Justice Court, adult drug courts, like the oldest specialty court in Las Vegas Justice Court, and it originally started off, it was like a six-month program, and back then Judge Lemon would, like, run it, and he and Judge Smith, and they’d yell at you. They’d like yell at participants. And I mean, we’ve evolved so much more, even from when I took the court over in 2016. We’ve really evolved. I mean, we’re almost, what, we’re eight years? Where we started off, I came in and there were new best practices and evidence-based principles, and we revised the treatment court when I took it over in 2016. And now there’s new things on the horizon that we’re looking at, just some of the things that I’ve talked to about pulling in that stronger, formalized peer support, pulling in to realize some of these other things that are causing people to struggle and not be able to move through due to that survivor guilt, that lack of self-worth. And just as we keep evolving, it’s great to say that I’ve got my court. I do a DUI repeat offender court. We’re rolling out and just starting to go in with a mental health court. We’ve got a community court.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: How exciting is that?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Veterans Court, we have a lot. And I mean, that’s just at my level. And then you go up to district court and you have all those courts, plus you have more. So we’re constantly looking at ways that the court can intercede better and find ways to rehabilitate people. That doesn’t mean that there’s still not some people that, unfortunately, you are going to have to move down the stream. But even in the correctional system, they are starting to reevaluate how they’re doing things. And I’ve had discussions with the deputy chief of the Clark County Detention Center, and underneath where the sheriff’s role and the sheriff’s viewpoint is, is even looking at things differently for people that are in our jail system that are serving out shorter term sentences, not a prison sentence, and how to approach things differently there.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And I think, I mean, you talk about evolving, right? And I think we as human beings are constantly doing that with knowledge. I would deal, again, with a lot of Hispanic communities here and even living in Central America. For me, corporal punishment was a part of growing up. I got spanked. And for me, I got spanked a lot, right? And, uh, and I was talking with a sibling, and sometimes we’re very judgmental of the past. And it was talking with a sibling, and they’re like, yeah, well, you know, I don’t spank, and you shouldn’t have been spanked. And I was like, you know, at the same time, my father grew up in Columbia. To be able to get to the farm, my great, uh, my grandfather had a farm. Had about 150 workers. It was a rather large farm there. They’d grow sugar cane. You had to ride horses for about six to eight hours to get to the farm. And I remember telling her, because sometimes she was like, yeah, you know, it just seemed unjust. And I shared, I was like, you know, I really thought about this. I really thought about this. They didn’t have time on a six-hour horse ride to tell you, hey, stop rustling around, right? Stop. Because if you fall down four hours into a ride and your bone is sticking out of your body, the consequences are going to be very dire. We didn’t live in the society that we lived in now, so it was very important the children would listen. You really need to pay attention because any mishap is really going to lead to some serious consequences. as a result with my children, right? I don’t believe in corporal punishment because I have more tools available. I have more understanding, right? And so I think in the same way, as we gather more knowledge, you know, some judges may have come from the older school like, hey, be hard because they’ve never had, you know, but one hammer doesn’t build an entire house. There’s different tools that are available. And at the end of the day, we need to be focused on outcomes. not how hard can I be on this person because look what they’ve done to society, um, but rather how do we get a better outcome here for society? How do we get an individual that begins to contribute, to view their life different, that, that’s willing to, you know, go back into their children’s lives, that is willing to make an impact and really change who they are? So as you’re, as you’re pioneering, you’re, you’re talking about all these specialty courts. You had mentioned that you had received some money, you had gotten some funding, or I believe it was over $3 million in new funding for the Las Vegas Justice Court. How does that mechanism work? I wasn’t even aware that, you know, the courts would apply for grants. I was like, wait, what? That was very interesting.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : So when I took over adult drug court, to say that I was squeezing blood out of a rock would be kind of a narrow thing.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Because you’re an entrepreneur, too. Yeah. Yeah, right?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : We had, you know, and just the way that the billing system was going on. And I just was meeting these other judges. And they were talking about all these other things that they were doing in their court. And I’m like, I’m struggling as to how to get people, you know, with their treatment paid for and all of that. And I’d never written a grant before. And I said, all right. And I got told, you know, you’ve got to look at grants.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: It took a weekend course. You’re ready to rock.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : It was a little bit more than that. But the good thing is I am an attorney. And so I’ve learned to make persuasive arguments. I’ve learned to write persuasively. And I said, if I can write an appeal, I should be able to write a grant. The first time that I applied, I was not successful, and I went back and I read what the reviewers’ notes were because, yes, I could write persuasively very well, but there were certain things that I needed to learn how to do better. Here’s $1.2 million. Oh, wow. Over a five-year turn.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Then my third attempt— Were you expecting that on the second one?


DIEGO TRUJILLO: Or were you expecting a bunch of notes and to learn a little more?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : I was not, and so we got that one, and then, you know, it just started the ball rolling, and then the next one was for $300,000, and then we got a $400,000. It’s just being able to, you know, once you know how to get your message there and following through with the message, you know, that’s how you get there. And that made it that we could do so much more to help people.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And what did this funding go towards? Typically, what do you seek funding for?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : So, you know, the other thing that I also worked on is, you know, we’ve got the Affordable Care Act. So I pulled on the Affordable Care Act because we did. We needed to figure out how we were more cost effective. Because the one thing that insurance is there for is to help pay for treatment. So we were working on making sure everybody was getting enrolled in insurance so that we could use the affordable care to pay for treatment. Then for my people that were unable or they were underinsured, now we could step in and help out with that. We’re able to help out with housing now. Peer support services aren’t covered, so we’re able to pay for peer support services. We’re able to pay more for bus passes. We’re able to pay more for transportation. We’re able to pay more for when people need identification again. We’re able to pay when there’s Limitations as to people’s insurance, we’re able to pick that up. For medications, some of these medications are somewhat expensive. I mean, if you’re talking about Vivitrol or Suboxone, you’re starting to move in on these 30-day shots. They’re expensive, and sometimes certain insurances don’t cover them. So we’re able to do so much more now with that additional funding, and we’re able to help more people. And that’s what this is all about.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Have you seen the funding directly impact the outcomes? Absolutely. So that’s something that’s directly, uh, the correlation is clear there.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Well, I mean, if I’m, if I have somebody, so here’s what we know. If somebody is homeless, we know that they’re, you know, there’s an 80% chance that they have a substance abuse problem, a mental health problem or both. Um, so you have to find some form of stable housing. Well, the one thing that insurance doesn’t cover is housing.


JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : So if I have people that in the first 90 days so the first 90 days of moving into a treatment program that first phase you’re trying to stabilize people right if they’re so worried about Am I going to be able to stay at this location or I only have 30 days at this location and I have to figure out how to pay and I’m not even at a job yet. Like they’re not going to be able to stabilize because you’re triggering them. So if I can sit there and say listen I’m going to get you placed somewhere that you’re not going to have to worry about that financial component. We’re going to cover your housing. then now I’ve eliminated one thing that could be potentially a trigger and I’ve provided them with a safe, sober, and supportive environment. So, and it’s safe. So that’s like number one to be able to start dealing with a stabilization process. And when we have grant fundings like this, that gives us the tools to be able to keep making this momentum. I have people that they haven’t seen a doctor in years. And you know, drug use isn’t nice and warm and fuzzy on your body. So we make them go see a doctor. And I can’t tell you how many times I’d have people like, I can’t afford to do that. I had people that were being injured and I’m like, you need to go to the doctor. And they’re like, I don’t have money to go to the doctor. And that shouldn’t be, you know, you shouldn’t have because you can’t pay just to see. So we’ve also collaborated with some low cost clinics with wonderful physicians here in town to be able to see them because People need these wraparound services to get them where they next need to be. And how about this? I have a lady in, of course, a lot of times when you’re homeless, you lose all of your identification. So, you know, you have to go through different steps of things. And a lot of times it’s paying these little fees to be able to get them to have identification. And then let’s say I’ve had people that, you know, they were here lawfully here in the United States, but they’re not a U.S. citizen. And to try to get the additional documentations for that, you know, you’re having to pay hundreds of dollars. And if you’re homeless, you don’t have that money.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, it’s not on your list of priorities.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : No. And so, we have, that’s what the funding has done. I mean, there’s a lot of oversight as to what we can and can’t use it for. But that being said, the doors that having funding provides makes or breaks what enables somebody to do it. Now, I know people that they’re, you know, and I’ve had people when we were struggling with money that You know, we worked very collaboratively to find every resource we absolutely could do for them, but I did see sometimes that, you know, they were worried and they had additional stressors and this kind of eases that piece.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, I agree. I saw a presentation. His name was Dr. Jeffrey Brenner. He won a MacArthur Award for a technique called hotspotting, medically. So they would look at readmissions in hospitals, and they would notice, huh, the last five days of every single month, there was a lot of people of There’s a lot of people, and I was telling this story to my sister over the phone inside of a grocery store, and so he goes, yeah, they were looking, and they were noticing the last five days the amount of people that would come in for ketoacidosis or their blood sugar level just wasn’t managed. And so he’s looking at all these Medicaid readmissions. This was in Arizona. and what that cost was. And then he thought, well, what if we give these people $30 food cards that they could use for food? And so they started giving him $30, and I mentioned this in a grocery store, and a guy goes, oh, more handouts, like he wasn’t even paying attention. But they started noticing these $40,000 readmissions to the hospital begin to drop. And after he did that, the insurance company, it was a very large insurance company, he said, hey, will you allow me to buy an apartment complex, and we’re just going to give these people a place to live? We’ll give them a social worker, and we’re not going to charge them anything for one year. And they, well, what are the conditions, and this and that? They can drink, they can use drugs, that’s, we’re not going to limit that. This is their apartment, this is where they could live. And he showed a video of what it would go like, the interviews, the rate of recovery, how it increased. Not just that, but I’ll never forget, while they were going through somebody’s apartment, he goes, please, he paused the video, he goes, please take note of how this woman keeps her things. She’s been in this apartment for six months, and all of her things were in bags in the closet. because she wasn’t used to unpacking that stability, right? And you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and what we need to be able to self-actualize and break out of those cycles, um, where we just feel hopeless. There’s no way out. And so when someone gives us that chance, that dollar can go a really long way, um, for many people to be able to break out of that cycle. Are there any cases or memorable experiences that you’ve presided over as a judge that have kind of jumped out at you or really stuck with you? I’m sure you have some very interesting stories.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : So I love to tell the story about one of my former, he graduated, but he came in and he first got sent to the court and we released him and he left.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And we were like, OK, so I’m going to issue this before the ankle bracelets or the electronic monitoring.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Yes. And because he came to me when he wasn’t in custody. And and so we put him somewhere and he left. And I was like, OK, well, issue the warrant. And you know what? I want to say like two to three weeks later, he comes in the door and he’s I will never forget. He’s wheeling in a purple suitcase. And he comes into me and he says, I don’t want to live that way anymore. He’s like, I know how to do this. I can run. I can dodge the system. And, you know, I can wait until Metro finds me and runs my name and puts me in jail and I serve out. He’s like, I can do six months in jail standing on my head. He goes, but I don’t want to live like this anymore. And he stood in front of me with his purple suitcase crying. He’s like, I just need help. And I said, OK. I can help you. But you’ve got to be ready to try to do this. And we put him in a sober living facility called Freedom House. And this young man who went from living in a tent in a desert that his entire, all of the things that he had in his life was in that purple suitcase. Um, no idea, no nothing, no job. He now, um, not only does he have a job, not only does he have a car, not only does he have a house, uh, not only does he have an ID, um, you know, I get, uh, I get messages from him and he’s like, I went to Indonesia.


JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : You know, he’s like, I can travel. I don’t even blink. He’s like, I don’t blink when I give people my ID. There’s no issues. He’s like, I, I remember him showing me pictures at his graduation. And we talked about the purple suitcase and he would show me pictures of before he, before he got into recovery. And I always would joke, and I’d be like, OK, that’s your rib cage? Because you’d be like, I’m fat now. I’m like, that’s your rib cage. That’s your intercostal muscles. That’s not like that. That’s your visceral organ. That’s not it. And when we looked at every smile, I said, do you notice the difference between your smile today and smile then? And I said, there you look like you’re baring your teeth, and now it’s like genuine. And I tell that story, and I just had a young man that I graduated last Thursday. And he thought he had no problem. He thought everything was okay. The mother of his child had separated from him. He had no visitation. He didn’t see himself as being homeless because he would go and couch surf. He got very serious charges against him, and the district attorney must have seen something in him, or he had a defense attorney that argued. He graduated last week with me home. His ex-wife came to the graduation. He has the co-parent now together. He has his kids. He has, he has a wonderful job. He has like everything. And you just watch these stories of people. I mean, I have another graduate and she just got married and she’s in Bali right now. Wow.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So it’s like watching people’s life come to fullness and they’ve just accepted this bare bone existence. And all of a sudden it just, you see it come to life.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : I’ve had people who tell me at graduation that they were so angry with me that I made them go into somewhere like a sober living facility, which was a roof over their head, a functional bathroom, food, because they thought that living in a tunnel with other people that were around them, with no bathroom facilities, no running water. I mean, you were living in a sewer tunnel that you thought that was OK. And it wasn’t until I forced them to go into something else that they realized that was not OK, and they should have never realized that was acceptable.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: How eye-opening. And I would feel like it’s something that’s so unique to your line of the judicial system, right? I’m sure other judges don’t feel like this about their job. You know, I thank you for the seven years in prison. You realize, I’ve realized that that tax fraud that I committed, you know, was a mistake and you’ve made me a better, right? Here’s an update of how I’m doing. This is very unique to your line of work, huh?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : It is. I mean, and I’m sure there’s a lot of people that intersect into our justice system that probably are in that similarity. But a lot of them aren’t ready to kind of take the chance to do this, or they don’t want to. They’re not ready. And it’s an unfortunate thing that there’s a lot of times, and we’re revisiting, you know, as to, you know, if you failed out, you know, when we think it’s appropriate for you to come back, because it used to be that, you know, we didn’t want to keep pulling on taxpayer resources to try again and again and again. And we also didn’t want it to be a situation of like, OK, well, you didn’t make it this time, but you know what? You can come back in three months and pick up another crime and come back. But we are having discussions about that because we do know sometimes people just aren’t ready.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah. Yeah, there’s kind of a sweet spot to really make that come to fruition. It’s kind of tough. How do you balance then, and let me ask you this, we’ll shift a little bit, because when we met, you handed me your card, and you said, I’m up for election, right? How do you feel when the election year comes up, right? Because now you’re focused kind of on two things, because there’s work you’ve been doing, and I’m sure you’re passionate about it. If you’re writing these grants personally, you’d like to see them executed and deployed. You want to see the outcomes on that. What is the dichotomy there within you on how much attention you give to each?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : It is that I joke that my re-election campaign is a second job now, so I am working two jobs. And some of the things that are unique and they intertwine together. It’s just like how I walked up to you at a networking event and introduced myself in hand card and like, hi, I’m running for re-election. And you just looked at me and you’re like, I’m really nice to meet you, but you know. Right, not a lot I can do, but I’ll vote for you if you want. Yeah, right. But it’s like having this intersection. OK, yeah, I’m running for re-election. I met you. But now I’m doing my job as a public servant because my job as a public servant and my job as chief judge of the Las Vegas Justice Court is to talk about what we do. The storytelling. and how we intersect and how we help improve not just our community but it is public safety that we’re talking about also. So it also allows me to blend and have that I’m doing sometimes wearing two or three hats because I’m also a chair of what we call here’s a big long word the Clark County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council which is a whole bunch of people sitting in the room talking about systemic criminal justice issues and how we fix it. So a lot of times, um, I may have a meeting with somebody like you and I may come in to be like, Hey, I’m having, I’m sitting down with coffee with you to talk about my reelection campaign. But somehow that translates into, I’m not talking about my reelection campaign. I’m talking about what we do in Las Vegas Justice Court for specialty courts. And you know what? I’m also now going to talk about how does that intersect with my role as chair of the CJCC because how about if we find a way to diminish that pipeline going into the jail and into the courts and where do we intersect with the community to help out with that and where does that Fall into with what you can do and that’s where you know, sometimes, you know, I joke that I’m like, okay I might be working two jobs, but and I might be talking about three different things but it’s all with having my eye in the windshield as to what’s going on because that’s what That’s what being an elected official about is doing public service.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, and it would seem the tie-in, the role that you play and how you need to be tied into the community. I mean, this is different than maybe other courts where they’re not so actively engaged with all the social services and everybody else, right? The support system isn’t needed as much. maybe he’s a little more punitive or whatever it may be, just by nature, it seems here, you would not just have a vested interest in seeing these people rehabbed, but hey, now that I have this passion and I’m building, you know, I’ve worked on this baby that I’ve helped to raise, how can I make sure this baby has the best chances? And how do we make sure people never even come into this court, right? How do we really start partnering up Because, again, I think our country had an idea of what addicts were and what addiction was, and all of a sudden that really shifted. In the last 30 years, in the last 40 years, we began to see, you know, people injured at work that all of a sudden hears a prescription, or in a car accident hears a prescription, all of a sudden gets pulled, and the only thing they’re left to do is, well, where do I go to now to get this, right? And so, I think as that, as that, as addiction began to touch more, you know, suburban America and people start to see the face of this and understand it, we really see the collaborative nature that’s required to pull ourselves out of this. And so, I can’t imagine, in your case, where you’re, it’d be like running to maintain the business that I’ve built, right? And so I’ve worked hard on this business for six years. I’m watching the impact it does. And, hey guys, can I keep my job? Can I continue to do this? Right? Which is, it’s kind of the, the, the nature of, of what you do. Uh, what do you feel distinguishes you from your opponent? What do you try to focus on as you’re, as you’re going into the community with this storytelling and sharing what it is that you do?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : A lot of it is my track record. So, I mean, specialty courts is just one thing that I’ve been working on since I got on the bench in 2013. So, you know, my slogan is experience matters. And we’ve talked about this when we talked about people with learned experiences and people that had to apprenticed and people that had journey. I mean, I’ve been doing this. I’ve been an attorney for over 20 years. My opponent is a very, very bright young lady, but she’s only been an attorney for five years. So, I keep trying to tell people, like, listen, you know, experience matters. I have a good track record, and I have that it hasn’t just been like, hey, I just go in and I, you know… Yeah, I’m milking it. I jump on the bench and I do my job as a judge on the bench and I preside over cases and then I get off the bench and I take off my robe and I, you know, go home and turn it off. It’s definitely been more than that and it’s, you know, it means that I’m in places and I’m in meetings on Fridays and on Saturdays and on my days off because sometimes that’s when community partners and stakeholders, that’s when people are available to do about that or it’s writing a grant and thinking about things a little bit more outside of, it’s more than what I do just sitting on the bench.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: This is community work, what you do. I mean, the community work that you do is just in a completely different setting than the rest of us out here trying to connect the dots and trying to make it happen and the wraparound services and everything. You just play a different role within that community.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Right. I call it being a collaborative stakeholder because that’s what it is. We can’t, yeah, we’re, you know, we’re a different arm of the government, you know, the whole nine yards. But that being said, you know, I had somebody say to me the other day, I was in a meeting and they said, My goal is to put your treatment court out of business.” And I said, bring it on. That’s awesome. Because if you put my treatment court out of business, it means that you are getting to people that have need before they ever run into a police officer, before they ever go into the Clark County Detention Center, before a case ever comes into thing. So please put me out of business. Put my specialty court out of business because of what you’re doing so far down the road. But in the meantime, let’s figure out how we work on this journey together.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: A hundred percent. I’m with you. You know, you mentioned the experience thing. It always reminds me. There’s a saying that Hispanics mom will tell their children, which is, you know, the devil knows more for being old than for being the devil. Right. And so what mom? But it means I’m older than you. I know what’s happening, right? They kind of share that experience with us. You reminded me of that when you mentioned it. So if people want to find out a little bit about more, a little more about your campaign, a little bit about what you’re trying to achieve and what you would achieve if elected again, where can they send their friends and family? Where can they go and look?

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : So I have a website. It’s cruz4judge.com. So that’s C-R-U-Z, the number four, judge.com. Um, I am also on, uh, social media. So, uh, I believe my, my, uh, I’m reelect judge Cynthia Dustin Cruz on Facebook and then on Instagram. It’s, uh, I think judge Cynthia Cruz on Instagram.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Okay. And that way they can follow in all the updates of what you’re doing now and also for the reelection as well.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Yes. So, you know, as I’m running around in the community taking lots of smiley pictures. Right. Seems to be. But yeah, it’s definitely, you know, I think the public struggles because You get these names on the ballot for judges and no one knows what’s going on. And so that’s why I also think it’s such a critical thing, even as my role, not just, hey, I’m in campaign reelect me mode, but as the chief judge of the court to keep working and educating our public as to what we do in Las Vegas Justice Court and why it is important to figure out who your judges are, especially if they’re going to be elected.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, I agree with you. Well, I really want to thank you for coming on. I think that we’re definitely going to have to have you on with, uh, as we go, we’ve been exploring and putting on these panel for opiate response. And there’s a lot of really interesting things happening in the community. I love highlighting them and spotlighting it. And again, I think it’s us working together as a community, uh, when it comes to healthcare, when it comes to homelessness, when it comes to mental health, when it comes to substance abuse disorder and, and all these different areas, I really look forward to being able to sit down and speaking with you, uh, hopefully when you win more grants. for the court system, no, to see these outcomes and see what changes we can make to be able to make an impact in our society. I really want to thank you for coming on and being able to share with our audience. For everybody listening, that was Cruz, C-R-U-Z, the number four, judge.com. That’s cruz4judge.com, and they can get more information. And then, as you mentioned, it was Judge Cynthia Cruz on Instagram? Yes. And then I’m sure if you look up Judge Cynthia Cruz on Facebook, it’ll also come up.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Sure. A lot of times it comes up as either Judge Cynthia Cruz or re-elect Judge Cruz. Re-elect Judge Cruz? Yeah. OK. I’ll be on the November ballot. And underneath the full, long name, Cynthia Dustin Cruz, because that’s my full name. But I don’t make people do that. It’s a mouthful on court. Right.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: It’d be a little trickier. Well, thank you very much for coming on and sharing with our audience, for everyone that’s listening. Uh, this is The Heals Pod where we try to highlight all the amazing programs and all the amazing people in our community to be able to share the story of a thriving healthcare system here in Las Vegas. Thank you very much for tuning in and make sure to visit Cruz for Judge. That’s the number four, cruzforjudge.com. Thank you very much for coming on with us, Judge Cruz. Um, and we look forward to having you on again.

JUDGE CYNTHIA DUSTIN CRUZ : Thanks so much for having me.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Have a wonderful day.