Rhonda Randolph is a drug addict.
But “a very grateful recovering drug addict,” she said last Thursday as she accepted a certificate for completing 24 months of Dawson County Drug Court.
A voluntary program for drug offenders, completion of the program means Randolph’s drug charges will be dismissed.
Standing before a group of family, friends and treatment court participants, Randolph wiped her eyes as Judge Jason Deal told the crowd Randolph was on her way to see her grandson graduate from kindergarten when she was arrested in May 2008.
“She’s at a different graduation today,” Deal said.
Randolph said drug court gave her a chance to have a new life.
“I’m very grateful for drug court and I’m thankful for my children, my grandchildren and my family, because I’ve had support from them all the way through this,” she said.
Randolph’s son and daughter were with her at the graduation and thanked the court for bringing their mother back to them.
Established under Deal’s guidance in 2006, Dawson County’s hybrid drug and DUI court created an innovative alternative to jail time for offenders.
Currently, there are 90 participants in the county’s treatment courts, which in the past four years have seen 22 graduates in the drug track, 44 offenders in the DUI track and 30 graduates in the 16-13-2 track, which is for first time drug offenders.
During that time, seven treatment court participants have obtained their GED’s, while participant employment rate is 90 percent.
Additionally, nine drug-free babies have been born to participants or their significant other.
A graduation reception followed the ceremony.