Tim Anderson has been battling alcohol abuse most of his life. When his addiction got the better of him, Anderson found help in an unlikely place.
"I got into drug court thinking I probably won't learn anything," he said. "I didn't realize it would change my whole life, my whole world."
Success stories like Anderson's have prompted officials to start more adult drug courts across the state. One will be opened this Friday, Nov. 8, at the Mason County Courthouse in Point Pleasant, WV. Officials say drug courts are the most effective and cost saving way to deal with drug-addicted offenders in the criminal justice system.
"What we are doing hasn't been working," said Chris Johnson, the Mason County drug court probation officer. "Sending these people to prison actually costs more money than is needed to start a drug court."
Mason County Circuit Court Judge David Nibert says 90 percent of cases he sees in the courtroom are drug-related. He hopes the program will prevent offenders from relapsing.
"We think we're going to make a significant impact on the lives of people who have suffered from drug abuse for decades," said Nibert.
In order to graduate from adult drug court, individuals not only have to pass strict drug tests, they also have to master important life and social skills.
"They don't want anyone to relapse, but they understand that addiction is hard to overcome," said Anderson. "They are there to help and see that you get your lives together."
The Mason County drug court will become the 22nd in West Virginia. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin is scheduled to be the keynote speaker.