When you start using drugs, you could end up getting arrested. But, once you get in front of a judge, you might not be headed to jail. In Randolph County, drug offenders sometimes get the chance to go through Drug Court rather than be incarcerated. They have programs for both adults and juveniles, all in the hopes to turn their lives around.
"When you can change those patterns before they become addicted, when they're older they know how to better cope with life, to turn to other sources rather than rely on substances," said Sherri Hulver, the Randolph County juvenile probation officer.
While it's an intensive program, not everyone gets to go through it.
"It's designed to help youth that are at risk of becoming addicted to substances. It's not for kids who are addicted, it's for those who have the potential to become addicted," said Hulver.
In the adult program, probation officers deal with people already addicted to drugs. While some people may think this program is easier than going to jail, those in charge of it disagree.
"We're talking about drugs and drug courts, and what the problems are, and just making sure the people understand what problems we're facing and what we're doing to correct those and how we're trying to help and provide services," said Judge Jaymie Wilfong.
Those in both programs have to check in with their probation officers several times a day, go to therapy, and pass drug tests. Juvenile participants also have to go to school everyday and keep up their grades.
"It's a component of the program throughout. They're constantly having to go to counseling, having to come to court, having to come see me. We check on them really frequently," said Hulver.
By making drug court tough yet rewarding, those running the program hope to never see repeat offenders.
"When kids go through this program, if they're really working the program like they're supposed to be doing, I see their self-esteem improve, I see them doing better in school and family relations improve. Just the overall picture, it gets better with these kids," said Hulver.
The juvenile program has been in place for two years, and the adult program started in October.
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