Several former drug abusers shed tears in a Perry County courtroom Tuesday, but they were not tears of sadness.
The latest class of drug court participants say they're thankful to have their lives back.
WYMT’s Marie Luby was there as they shared their incredible stories with family, friends and one U.S. Congressman at their graduation.
Tiffany Maniece is determined to win back custody of her 8-year-old daughter, “Now that I've accomplished drug court I know that I can do anything.”
As she read from a simple piece of paper, she felt closer to a reunion than she ever thought possible.
“I was on drugs really, really bad. I didn't care whether I lived or died. I just lost all hope and faith,” Maniece said.
Congressman Hal Rogers praised graduates for their courage.
“It's almost a religious experience to see these people stand before the community and bare their soul, I mean that has got to be one of the toughest things that you can do,” Congressman Rogers said.
Officials say drug court graduates repeat drug crimes less than half as much as non-participants.
Rogers says more babies born drug-free is an even more important measure of success.
“These babies, otherwise born into slavery are born free, and they have hope and a life ahead of them that they would not have had otherwise,” Maniece said.
Maniece is doing her part to add to the statistic with a new child due in February.
Maniece says she's ready to start a new life with both of her children.
Officials say 20 percent of drug court graduates repeat their crimes, compared with 57 percent of convicts who don't go through the program.