Celebrating Change in People's Lives

Porterville, CA, USA The graduates of Tulare County's Drug Court paraded in front of hundreds of friends and family members who came to show their support. Each graduate has been taking part in court supervised drug treatment for the last year and a half. For many, it's their first real break from a long habit.

Armando Lenares is just one of the program's success stories.

Armando Lenares said, "It turned my life around completely. It's a totally new life for me, I'm a better person today. I'm very happy for what I've accomplished in my life."

Alice Lopez said, "I'm a better person today. Better mother for my kids. How many kids do you have? I have three."

A key part of this event is the before and after pictures. Slides are shown of the addict when they first entered the program, and again at the end. Judge Glade Roper supervises the program.

Tulare Co. Judge Hon. Glade Roper said, "I do think there are a lot of people that want to be in recovery that can't because they don't know how. That's the benefit of the Drug Court supervision is we can supervise them, kind of force them down the treatment path."

The Tulare County Drug court program is unique in that it accepts anyone who wants to get clean. Some are forced into it by law enforcement, but anyone who wants to get off drugs can enroll.

Each year Roper brings in a celebrity who's recovered from addiction. Over the years famous actors, musicians have told their stories. This year, former Major League Baseball player Jim Maloney. Shared his experience with a fall from fame, to addiction, and then sobriety.

Jim Maloney said, "It was tough for me. It was tough to get back into society and live in the real world you might say. I fell to alcoholism and for about 15 years stumbled around."

Maloney became a drug and alcohol counselor, and lives in Fresno. His message of more than 20 years of sobriety is one these graduates are ready to hear.

Elva Maldonado said, "You have to want to change. You have to want to leave the drugs. If not, it's not going to work for you."

This is the 13th Drug Court Graduation and in that time nearly 2 thousand people have gone through the program and changed their lives.


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