Drug Court offers second chance at life - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Drug Court offers second chance at life

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Drug Courts take individuals with substance abuse problems and teaches them important life lessons to help prepare them to be positive members of society.

It also gives them a second chance.

"Showing them the softer side of the justice system, it lasts," says Alicia Matthews, with the Pitt County Drug Court.

Matthews says once someone graduates from the program, the possibilities are endless.

"We've seen graduates go to school. We've seen graduates graduate college. We've seen them become good, functioning adults," Matthews said.

Participants must complete at least one year in Drug Court, pass randomized drug test, appear in court regularly, and be clean for at least 160 days in order to graduate.

Part of Drug Court is giving back to society. One way of doing that is planting a community garden in Greenville.

Marshall Howard is one of the participants in the program. He almost lost his life in 1991 after driving drunk and getting in a serious car accident.

He says the program has changed his life.

"We learn a lot here about living a normal life and being a productive citizen of society," Howard said.

Other participants feel the same.

"It keeps my head on straight. It keeps me positive and motivated to do good things," said Daquan Hinton.

With more than one hundred graduates since the program started in Pitt County in 2005, Matthews says one lesson stands out above the rest.

"One of the most important things that all of us as a Drug Treatment Court team try to teach and reinforce with the participant is the importance of getting honest, and just showing up and trying as hard as your can," she said.

There are 40 Drug Courts in North Carolina, including one in Pitt, Lenoir and Halifax Counties.

For more information, visit their website.
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