West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Visits Ohio County to Support Drug Court Graduate
By Kelsey Kennedy, Producer/Digital Journalist - email
WHEELING, W.Va -
Kicking a drug addiction can be the accomplishment of a lifetime. Thanks to the dedication of the First Judicial Circuit Drug Court in the northern panhandle, hundreds of people have achieved that goal.
A team of people came together Monday afternoon to celebrate the graduation of a drug court participant. West Virginia's Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin joined Judge David Sims and Britanie Fisher's treatment team in celebrating her accomplishment. Justice Benjamin hopes she will inspire others in the program.
"There's a lot of folks with addiction problems in West Virginia," he says. "Some of them are trying to go through the system themselves, and trying to get better. She's doing it, and showing that she can do it. She'll help others and they'll help others. Then we can start turning the corner on what is affecting West Virginia in a very bad way right now. That's addiction overall."
Britanie is the First Judicial Circuit's 142nd graduate. She says she's grateful to all the people who've stood beside her for the past year.
"I met a lot of great friends and my probation officer was awesome," she says. "She worked with me and gave me support. She was always there and I could ask her anything anytime. I think she's a wonderful person."
Justice Benjamin says the drug court in the northern panhandle has been a pioneer program for the entire state. There are about 750 drug court graduates in the state, both adults and juveniles. Only about 12 percent of them reoffend.
"Most importantly, that pattern of going into jail, and coming out an addict, and going back into jail, will be broken," he says. "These people will be productive citizens."
34 counties in West Virginia currently have drug courts. By 2017, all 55 counties will offer the program.