By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
June 4, 2014 — Five new graduates of the Carter County Drug Court were recognized in a special ceremony held before a packed house Thursday night in Grayson.
Whitney Dearfield, Jennifer Elam, Michael Shane Cooke, Leisha Logan and Jeremy Sloas all celebrated completion of the program which for most of them took more than two years to complete.
“I admire you for the discipline and accountability you demonstrated in completing this very difficult and demanding program,” said Sen. Robin Webb. “This is a true time of transformation for all of you.”
Drug Court is an alternative sentencing program geared toward recovery and reintegration rather than sentencing addicts to lengthy jail terms.
“This is not an easy program and some people choose to just go ahead and serve their time rather than go through it,” said Circuit Judge Rebecca Phillips, who volunteers her time to oversee the program.
Participants are required to call a special telephone number each day that alerts them as to whether or not they will be required to take a drug test that day.
In addition to testing, they are also required to regularly meet with addiction counselors and take part in peer-based recovery programs such as Narcotics Anonymous or Lifeline—a local faith-based option.
Participants also have to hold down a job, go to school or perform community service while in the program.
To date, 34 individuals have successfully completed the Drug Court program in Carter County.
Phillips praised the graduates for their hard work but also warned that the road forward will not necessarily be an easy one now that they have finished the program.
“We would love for these plaques we hand out to be a shield that protects you from temptation but that’s just not reality,” she said.
Most of the graduates were brief in their remarks, thanking family and the Drug Court staff for their support throughout the course of the program.
Whitney Dearfield perfectly summed up the sentiments of all the graduates in expressing how vital drug court has been in her recovery.
“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for second chances,” she said.
Joe Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 286-4201.