RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) – A judge offered a recovering drug addict a free gym pass for a month to help keep him from using heroin again.

Justin McKeighan, 23, of Brandon went to a drug treatment program in New York after he was charged in October with violating his probation by using drugs and missing meetings with his probation officer.

McKeighan returned to court Thursday after completing the residential treatment program. A bail hearing focused on what exceptions could be made to a court-ordered, 24-hour curfew at his mother’s home in Brandon.

McKeighan told Judge Nancy Corsones that he learned in treatment that it was important to stay active to keep his mind off his addiction.

“I’ve been fighting this for six years,” he said. “The biggest problem is idle time.”

McKeighan said that while the judge granted him curfew exceptions to look for a job and to go to treatment, he needed time for recreation, too. He asked if he could go down to a basketball court only a short distance from his mother’s home.

Corsones told McKeighan that she didn’t want him falling into the pattern of hanging out with the same people he did when he was addicted to heroin.

She offered another suggestion.

“Why don’t we get him a pass to the gym for free?” the judge asked McKeighan’s defense attorney and the prosecutor. The two attorneys both supported the request.

“Let’s see if we can get a month pass,” Corsones said.

The judge told McKeighan it was the first time she had made such an offer.

Corsones also said that in addition to curfew exceptions for work and treatment, his probation officer could grant other exceptions as long as McKeighan contacts him first to get approval.

AP-ES-12-05-03 1543EST

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