Fifty five people are celebrating sobriety after successfully graduating the 15th Judicial District Drug Court.
The graduation ceremony was held at Resurrection Life Church in Picayune. For most it was a 3 year commitment to saying no to drugs.
They proudly walked to the stage to receive their certificate for successfully completing the stringent drug court program. Each with their personal story and demons conquered.
"Law enforcement said don't take him he's been in prison multiple times. I said no we're taking him and I'm glad we did. He's been very successful he's a graduate. He started a cottage industry, he started a construction company and he's hired a half dozen people in drug court. We like him," said Circuit Court Judge Prentiss Harrell.
The 15th judicial District Drug Court encompasses Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Lawrence, Marion and Pearl River Counties.
Some are sentenced to the program others recommended. They must attend AA, NA or other recovery programs. They're monitored closely and drug tested routinely.
Leaders say the drug court program boasts a high success rate.
"85-percent or more in our drug court stay out of trouble and don't go back to prison," said Judge Harrell.
For those who completed the program it was a life changing experience.
Drug Court Graduate Cruz Andrews said, "I have to say during my first appearance before the judge I was a nervous wreck. My drug test had tested hot for cocaine and the judge didn't mind telling me how selfish I was considering I had a wife and three children."
Special guest speaker the honorable State Supreme Court Justice William Waller said drug courts address the problem and not just the crime. And drug courts state-wide are saving taxpayers a lot of money.
Chief Justice William Waller Jr. said, "There are 200 and some odd people presently in this drug court. And they are saving Mississippi over 3-million dollars in money that would have to be paid for the cost of prison."
The Chief Justice said the graduates are a shining example of why a drug addicted person should never give up.
In order to graduate the program participants must also complete paying any and all court fines and restitution payments.