Drug Court Offers First Time Offenders New Beginnings

Graduation day in Harrison County drug court is the first day of Charles Rogers' new life.

The 29-year old former oxycontin addict joined drug court after getting kicked out of rehab, getting arrested and going to jail. Rogers says drug court saved him.

"It just gives you structure in life and makes you feel... like now I can look in the mirror and be happy with what I see. For the longest time I didn't even want to be alive."

Rogers and his fellow graduates got a second chance. Drug court is an alternative to probation, but the program isn't easy, and the temptation to drop out is strong. But if they make it, the rewards are big.

Circuit Court Judge Steve Simpson says it took a lot of convincing for him to embrace the concept.  But Simpson says he saw the success in other parts of the country and wanted to give it a try here.

"The incentive to successfully completing this program, in addition to being sober and turning your life around, is that you have the felony charge that introduced you to the criminal justice system passed to the files. So they avoid being a convicted felon the rest of their lives."

Charles Rogers got the help he needed. He hopes other addicts get the same mindset.

"You gotta have that mentality that you wanna change, you wanna be better in life you don't wanna be just scraping out the bottom of the barrel."

Rogers is doing anything but that. He's drug free, going to school, and happy to have his life back.