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Drug Court Graduate William Ray discusses the impact of the program on his life while fellow graduate John Moore looks on.

Two More Graduate from Drug Court Program

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Two more have graduated from the Marion County Drug Court program.  

William Ryan and John Moore had charges they had pleaded guilty to enter the program dismissed during the graduation program.   They are among the ten original members of the drug court and join three others who graduated earlier.  That gives the program a 50% graduation rate among its initial participants.  

Drug Court Judge Michael McHaney noted 75% of those in prison are addicts and research shows prison fails to address the problem.  "We want them to take control of their lives. To quit being parasites." McHaney said.

McHaney says research also shows drug courts work.  That view was shared by both of the graduates.   William Ryan talked about the more than 20 years of his life he spent as an addict.  

"[I learned] how to live a life. I needed someone to hold me accountable. When I had things my way, they make movies about lives like that. People watch them for entertainment. It wasnt entertainment. It was a life of misery." Ryan said of his past.

The other graduate John Moore said he had hit bottom before being offered at the chance to join the drug court program which turned out to be a blessing.

"[It's] something that has worked so well for me. It should go on to further assist with other peoples struggles in our society. I now have a network of recovery to call upon at any time." Moore said of the program.

Marion County State's Attorney Matt Wilzbach noted very little good comes out of the court system, with one of those good things being a drug court graduation ceremony.  

Salem Mayor John Raymer told those at the ceremony how proud he is of the county and court system for coming up with the drug court program.  He says it represents that 'we just won't give up' and are changing from a system that used to just be a 'lock and key.'

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