Sentenced to a Better Kind of Life - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Marsha Mays Reporting

Sentenced to a Better Kind of Life

JONESBORO, AR -- A different kind of court is giving drug addicts the chance to clean up their lives with out going to jail. Drug court starts off for most as a requirement. It's either that or jail, but once they complete the nearly 2 year program, the drug court graduates are saying they're grateful they were given a chance for a new life.

"About a year and a half ago, I got busted for drugs. I was headed to prison. I had my son taken away from me," says Holly Bridger, graduate of drug court.

Holly was addicted to meth for nearly 13 years.

"It was just a living nightmare. A living nightmare and I didn't know how to get myself out of it," says Bridger.

After being arrested, she says she wanted to be in drug court. Option B was prison, but Holly says she knew drug court wasn't going to be easy. The Craighead County Drug Court, which started 3 years ago, is a very intense, monitored rehab program. Taking anywhere to 14 to 24 months, they are required to complete 4 phases before graduation. They're drug tested several times weekly, required to do a certain amount of community service and most importantly, learn how to live on their own, drug-free.

"It's given me structure. It's showed me how to live better, showed me the things I can be grateful for today, showed me that I do have a reason to live and life is worth living today," says Bridger.

Colby Price shares a similar story.

"It's a complete turnaround, complete turnaround. I was crazy whenever I was on drugs. I'd do anything to get high," says Price.

For six years, Colby was addicted to cocaine and now a year and a half into drug court, he says his life is completely different. He has a good job and has a place he can call home.

"I'm excited I have finally accomplished something and it's something I can be proud of," says Price.

Holly says she's proud of what they've accomplished here, but she knows that graduation is really just step one to recovery. As graduates, now they are on their own.

"Freedom. Freedom for a new life," says Holly Bridger.

Circuit Judge David Laser, who oversees the drug court, says Tuesday's graduation is a big accomplishment, but for any addict, recovery will always be a constant battle. He said they also wanted to thank all the sponsors of the Craighead County Drug Court, who they say make this program possible each year.    

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