St. Martinville – The St. Martin Parish Adult Drug Court program celebrated the success of its participants on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the St. Martin Parish Courthouse on Church Street.
Graduating participants completed a minimum of 18 months of outpatient treatment. Their accomplishments included completion of a three-month job readiness/work ethic training, obtaining a GED or trade and obtaining gainful employment.
Sheriff Ronny Theriot was the guest speaker at the event and had encouraging words for the graduates.
Theriot said, “You made it through the selection process by choice. There were both emotional and financial challenges that you had to go through.
“Going through the program builds a stronger character, and it reinforces a positive attitude.”
When talking about the participants accomplishments, the Sheriff also said, “It gives them a total quality of life, improves self esteem, and puts them on the right road to recovery.”
“They will have to earn the trust of others again, and that takes time. This graduation is the beginning of a new life. There will be lots of emotions when you leave the drug court, the staff walked with you, talked with you and encouraged you,” Theriot said.
“It takes courage, discipline, faith and prayer to succeed and the counselors are always there if you need them. There are many people who want to see you succeed,” Theriot said.
He also thanked the families of those involved for encouraging members to go through the drug court program.
Judge Keith Comeaux also had words of encouragement and praise for the graduates. He explained that it’s a very difficult process to go through drug court and it’s a big commitment.
Comeaux said, “I make a promise to my graduates, if you go through this program sanction free, I’m going to save you a lot of money. To never miss is a very difficult commitment and I will reward them if they do it.
“One of the six graduates here today has done it,” Comeaux said.
Sanction free means that the participant went through the program with no violations and never missed a meeting.
Drug courts have reduced the number of defendants from the clogged courtrooms of the traditional criminal justice system. They offer a viable alternative to the problems of incarceration and jail overcrowding. Probation has generally been plagued by high caseloads for probation officers. As a result, the officer cannot adequately supervise their clients.
The St. Martin Parish Adult Drug Court hears cases of nonviolent probation eligible offenders charged with drug and/or drug-related crimes.
The program is an intensive outpatient drug treatment program with close supervision, full accountability and graduated sanctions for non-compliance with the program requirements.