16 former drug addicts graduate from the drug court program in Perry County.
A ceremony was held in the circuit courtroom tonight in Hazard.
Some graduates were repeat offenders and were given several chances to turn their lives around.
Tonight, the graduation marks the end of one long journey to stay drug free.
One by One, each graduate stood at the podium to express their gratitude for getting another chance. One graduate we talked to says it was hard to complete the program.
“It's been a long hard road for me,” Kristal Jones says. “Many struggles. And many joys so this is very special for me and a very big thing.”
Jones and Tori Owens had the same motivation to get through drug court.
“My children. My children definitely,” Both say.
“I tell people they are who I am,” Owens says. “If they're sad, I’m sad. If they're happy, I’m happy. Everything they do makes me who I want to be today and that's what keeps me so strong.”
The keynote speaker was Former Kentucky Wildcat Basketball Player, Jeff Sheppard. He says being on a national championship team is great, but seeing something like this happen is also unforgettable.
“It was the 16 speeches of the young men and women that have fought this addiction and now are winners and moving on with their life,” Sheppard says.
All the graduates thanked the Program Supervisor, Theresa Huff.
”If you can change one life for the better, you've done what you need to do in life,” Huff says. “I don't agree with that. I think we need to change everyone's life for the better hopefully this is my small contribution.”
Jones and Owens have a message for people who are battling drug addiction and going through
“It doesn't matter how many times you fall down, doesn't matter how many times you relapse, just don't ever give up because if you give up and take the easy way out, what's that going do for you? Nothing,” Jones says.
26 people have graduated from Perry County’s drug court since 2005.
Now they can add 16 more to that list.
All the graduates received a plaque to recognize their efforts in drug court.