Eureka, Ca., (KIEM)- Friday ten people received certificates of completion from a county judge, to celebrate their successful graduation from “Humboldt County Drug Court.” Making it through the 18-month program is no small feat, and for many, drug court was the difference between addiction and jail time and sobriety and employment.
“Families that have supported their friends, their daughters, their significant others try to get them into sobriety many many times, fail and given up on them. So they’re celebrating that reality compared to now. They all have jobs, they all have places to live, they all have better choices.” Barbra Robie, a senior probation officer says.
All graduates were addicted to methamphetamine, heroin or alcohol. For 20 years the Humboldt County Probation Department has helped more than 500 addicts to recover. 75% of program graduates never return to the criminal justice system.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, they’re on our side now…. they have our best interests at hear, and it’s just unreal.” Gary Bergenske, one of today’s graduates said. He’s been struggling with addiction, and gone through the criminal justice system since the 1990s.
“Each step you go the light gets bigger and bigger. And… yeah! Just get with your lawyer, you need to get to drug court.” Bergenske says.