Drug court helps give people a chance at sober, productive life

Almost every day in The Register, we have a story on the drug epidemic.

Recently, we reported that Madison County already has seen more drug-related deaths this year than last. We reported that Madison County EMS has seen an increase in patients requiring naloxone to reverse the effects of an overdose. The jail is overcrowded and indictments are up.

Yet, not every story is negative. On occasion, we have stories of hope.

On Wednesday, family and friends gathered at the Madison County Courthouse. However, instead of a hearing or trial, there was a celebration. Four drug court graduates were recognized for turning their lives around following addiction.

Each of the graduates spoke candidly of their experiences with addiction.

One male participant described his five-year cycle of desperate addiction, inability to keep a job and dishonesty to his family. Now employed and on good terms with family, he compared his life several years ago to his current life, calling it a difference of night and day.

And that’s the goal of the program — to make a difference in its participants’ lives and give them another chance.

Many of the people addicted to drugs are not bad people, they made a bad decision. Drug court is a perfect chance for them.

The program is designed to help people who have gotten in trouble, who have pleaded guilty, whether to a misdemeanor or a felony, and who want to change the course of their lives, work on the addiction issues that led them to court and have a positive outcome.

One graduate recalled how he woke up in a drunk tank about a year ago and wondered how he got there. He has found restoration through the drug court program, saying, “I needed to be here.” Citing his personal turning point as when he finally believed in the program, he encouraged current drug court participants in the room to keep working at it.

We need to keep encouraging them as well. While there may be stumbling blocks, everyone deserves a chance to live a sober and productive life.

We all need to remember that these individuals are someone’s son or daughter, someone’s mother or father. They mean the world to somebody and don’t deserve to be just another statistic.

Although drug court is not an option for all, getting help is. Those who are able to overcome their addiction and become sober need to celebrate that victory. We all do.

Richmond Register