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Drug Court offers graduates a new beginning
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Story By: Brigitte Coles



  Originally Published on: 5/16/2014

Six Richland County residents are embracing a new beginning in their journey of overcoming drug addiction. The group was honored Thursday at the 15th annual Richland County Drug Court Graduation at the Life Celebration Center in Mansfield.

The program started in 1997, is for low-level non-violent offenders who have drug addictions as the root cause of their crime.

Graduate Zak Peyton, thanked his family and the program for saving his life. He said his addiction to painkillers and the overdose of his sister was the wake up call he needed.

Peyton's mother Laura Brown cried as she listened to her son's touching comments.

"It's a milestone, one we've been wanting for months and months," Brown said. "I give all praise to God, because it is something to be proud of. Drug addiction affect the whole family. I'm so proud of him and how far he's come with this. I know the pain and suffering he's went through to change his life," Brown said.

Richland County Common Pleas Court Judge Brent Robinson said the program keeps people out of prison, saves money and turns lives around.

"We try to use community based treatment programs to treat people to get them clean and sober. We want them to be productive and successful," Robinson said.

"In this program we emphasis intensive probation, supervision and work. We also utilize a variety of programs in the community. We understand there could be a relapse so our program runs 18 months or more to complete," Robinson said.

Drug court founder and former common pleas court Judge James Henson was on hand to congratulate the graduates. Judge Robinson said the program has a success rate of 70 percent.

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