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Jackson County Drug Court honors third graduate

By Suzette Lowe

The Jackson County Adult Drug Court celebrated its third graduation on December 7, 2020.

Hancel Reynolds received his certificate from Judge Lora Dyer at a small ceremony in the circuit courtroom. His family, drug court treatment team members and the program participants proudly watched as he accepted the proof of his hard work and determination.

The motivation for completing the drug court process was a simple one for Reynolds.

“I’m doing this for my family,” he said. “My kids and my grandkids made me want to do better for them. My life goal is to live as long as I can so I can watch my grandchildren grow.”

Reynolds described alcohol being the issue earlier in his life but the addiction to drugs grew stronger as he got older. Now in his 50s, Reynolds credits drug court for getting him back to a normal life. 

Judge Dyer said that the success Reynolds achieved is an example for others to follow.

“His dedication to the program and his success shows that change can occur at any age,” she said.

As with most in recovery, the need to connect with family is an important factor in achieving and continuing with sobriety. 

Drug treatment courts allow those who have appeared in the criminal justice system to have a chance for recovery. Participating in intensive substance abuse treatment, weekly supervision, monitoring, drug screens, and progress towards personal goals in education and employment are requirements of drug court participants.

Reynolds was praised for his progress. Treatment team members noted that he was always respectful of the staff and the program. Following the rules and keeping his personal goals in mind helped him make the steps he needed for recovery.

Drug Court Probation Officer Ella Dillon said it was obvious that Reynolds was committed to his recovery.

“Hancel flew through the program from day one with no issues whatsoever,” she said. “It was obvious that his family was a big motivation.”

When asked for his advice to others participating in the program, Reynolds’ response was direct and to the point.

“Just always try to do your best,” he said.

The Jackson County Drug Court, which began in 2019, has seen three successful graduates. Two participants are scheduled to graduate at the beginning of 2021.