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Drug court benefits individuals, community

Drug court is often called a second chance for participants, but in reality it’s often a third or fourth chance.  And that’s a good thing.

On Monday, 20 individuals graduated from 14th Circuit Drug Court. More importantly, 20 people now have an opportunity to better their lives, instead of spending time in jail.

The program demands much from its participants. It requires several years of frequent court appearances and random drug testing. They have to pay restitution and complete and pay for their drug treatment. They have to be clean and sober, and cannot test positive or have any discipline problems for a period of a year to complete each of the four phases of drug court.

If they fail, the penalty is jail time. But if they succeed they are offered a new life. Those who graduate the program have their records expunged.

“Once they get clean and sober and get their lives back going in a direction, if they came out with a criminal record, it would hinder them from moving on. And that’s what this whole thing is about, trying to get them to move on, do better and live better,” said John Douglas, coordinator for the 14th Circuit Court District.

In addition to benefiting participants, drug court also benefits our communities. Graduates can go on to become successful, productive members of society.

We are thankful the program exists and is successful, and we are grateful for those who help make it so.