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WEST POINT, MS (WCBI) – “I have three children, and they suffered, and they watched me everyday drink until my second DUI. I came to drug court and they have been a blessing to me and also to my children” said Shevilla Stewart, a participant at the West Point Drug Court.

The West Point Drug Court opened its doors in October of 2011. Since then 106 people have come here for support with drug or alcohol abuse. Once a participant qualifies for drug court, they must go through a series of counseling sessions.

“They come in at least twice a week and they’ll do group of individual therapy. Some of them will do both. We also offer family therapy if they need to come in with their spouse or their children or their parents” explained Cindy Tidwell, a drug court counselor for the program.

Along with the required therapy, participants must pass random drug tests and stay sober throughout the process. The program is rigorous. Not everyone makes it through, but for those who stick with it, the rewards are life changing.

Tidwell added, “They’ll come in and it appears that they’re angry at the court. Within just a few months, people are saying you know what, I feel so much better. I did have a problem and thank you for what you’re doing.”

Drug court takes a minimum of 12 months to complete, but some participants take up to 2 years. The process is long, but the results are worth it.

“Once they’ve completed drug court, they’re not going back to jail. They’re starting their life over clean and sober. And they’re becoming productive members of society” said Tidwell.

As an incentive, qualified participants even have their record expunged after graduation. With the help of the drug court and at home support systems, struggling drug abusers can create a healthy future.

Stewart added “Don’t be ashamed or don’t be scared to admit that you have a problem. I’m having a great relationship with my family now. I have a good relationship with god and I’ve also gotten married recently. But I’m looking forward to graduating the class and getting on with my life.”

In West Point, Maddie Kirker; WCBI News

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