The five graduates have 'been given the gift of personal responsibility, and understanding what that is,' keynote speaker and County Commissioner Donald O'Brien said.
Five locals graduated from drug court the afternoon of Thursday, May 10, with 2,570 consecutive clean days and 363 community service hours between them.
"This program, to me, it kicked my butt to h--- and back," graduate Dyllan Peters said after Circuit Judge Dennis Craig handed him his graduation certificate. "I finally got on track and started doing what I was supposed to, started actually following the rules which I’d had a problem with. … I’d like to thank my family for having patience for me."
Other graduates were Coleman Robinson, Troy Matthews, Heather Nunziato and Zachary Gonzales.
With the five participants' graduation, the program — which at 44 participants had been two over its capacity — will be back within its limits.
"When I took over, I effectively had 18 participants, and 18 was much less than what our capacity was," Craig said. Now, he said, "Not only are we full up to capacity … but there is probably a need for us to even have a little greater capacity."
The event's keynote speaker, County Commissioner Donald O'Brien, told the graduates that they had "been given a wonderful gift: You’ve been given the gift of personal responsibility, and understanding what that is ... It’s a hard pill to swallow to accept personal responsibility, for anybody … You’ve swallowed that pill; you’ve taken the responsibility to improve your lives. ... And I’m really in awe of the mental strength and toughness that it takes to do that."
Craig said that the comnunity shouldn't look at drug court as a cost: It's an investment, he said.
"That's the way the community values your lives," he said, turning to the graduates. "You’re worth it."