Drug Court is a program where drug and alcohol abusers can go to get help. The court saves more than $17 million a year in incarceration costs. This program not only saves money but saves lives, as well.
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from Charleston came to Preston County to help two clients graduate from Drug Court.
"Well, I had to get caught, I had to get in trouble," said Thomas Jones, one of the two Drug Court graduates from the ceremony Thursday evening. "I had to do all the wrong things, which lead me here. I've changed."
Thirty-one counties in West Virginia use the Drug Court Program.
Thursday was the fifth Drug Court graduation in Preston County, but there is another coming up in a few months.
This was the final step for a more than two year process for these two graduates, Erin Volk and Jones.
"I've completed a treatment for drug addiction through Preston County Courthouse," said Volk. "It involves a lot of classes, outside meetings, therapy."
"It's helped me everything pretty well about me, all of my characteristics," Jones said. "It made me honest, and trustworthy."
The program began in 2005 and has graduated 500 clients in West Virginia to date.
Chief Justice Brent Benjamin said Drug Court helps the problem instead of warehousing it.
"Over 50 percent of the people graduate, wish it was higher, but that's a reality of the drug problem we deal with," said Chief Justice Benjamin. "Of those that graduate, only 9 percent go back to drugs. That means the others go on to productive lives, and they get their families back together again."
That's exactly what Volk and Jones have done. Both are now employed and graduated with a standing ovation from family and friends.
"The process through drug court has taught me how to live in society without using and drinking alcohol," Volk said. "It has also given me back the things that I have lost due to my addiction. My family, my friends."
The program is completely voluntary. From the counselors, and people in charge, down to the patients.
"It's your choice not to get sober, you don't have to," said Jones. "I got tired of being sick. Running around and chasing everything else. I decided to find a new way to live, I like it."
Drug Court not only helps adults but juveniles, as well. And by 2017 there will be a drug court in every county in West Virginia.