Fifty-two people who have been convicted of drug and alcohol crimes are now clean and sober and holding down jobs. They graduated from the Drug Court program Friday, and News On 6 was there.
Drug court is not a get out of jail free card, participants have to go to several counseling sessions a week, be in court and pass drugs tests every week, go to 12 step programs, and get a job. It takes a lot of time and money, but graduates say it's worth it, to get a second chance at life.
Marla was a hard core meth user and dope dealer who went to prison for five years. When she got out, within a year, she was using and selling again. When she got arrested again, she was offered a chance to make a true change with drug court and has now been clean two and a half years.
"First time in my life, I've lived in an apartment by myself and no drugs, no company," said Marla Maxwell, a Drug Court graduate.
Marla received an outstanding leadership award and was chosen to share her story.
"I have a different way of thinking now about pain, a different way of dealing with pain and dealing with sorrow," she said.
Marla and Summer Greer became close friends during drug court. Summer was at college when she first tried meth, and it cost her everything.
"Within a year of doing methamphetamine, I lost my husband, my kids, my house and had nothing," she said.
Neither woman was perfect during drug court, but they both stuck it out and now, both are reaping the rewards. They are reunited with family and looking forward to a productive future.
"It's been a ride but one of the best rides of my life," said Summer Greer, Drug Court program graduate.
More than 900 people have been through Tulsa County's drug, DUI, veterans and mental health courts, which they estimate has saved taxpayers more than $13 million. For these graduates, it's about their lives, their families and a chance to finally make things right with those hurt the most by their drug driven lifestyles.
"I'm sorry they couldn't be a kid, that they had to grow up with a drug dependent mom and couldn't have friends," Marla said about her family. "All I can say is I'll be the best grandma ever."
Eight-five percent of the people who are sent to DUI, Drug Court, graduate. After five years, 88 percent of them are still clean.