National Recovery Month: Highlighting the Rapides Drug Court

September is National Recovery Month, which aims to recognize those battling addiction, those who have overcome it and those aiding in recovery.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 4:47 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 4:50 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - September is National Recovery Month, which aims to recognize those battling addiction, those who have overcome it and those aiding in recovery.

One recovery program in Alexandria, the Rapides Drug Court, has been in operation since 1997. It is a court-ordered program that is given as an option for people convicted of felony charges, instead of time in prison. Only certain offenders meet the criteria to be entered into the two-year program. Everyone in the program must submit to drug tests, attend group and one-on-one therapy sessions and do routine check-ins among other recovery methods.

Kenna Dixon is the program supervisor, she told KALB that the program allows people struggling with addiction access to essential resources.

“They have access to services and resources that they normally wouldn’t be exposed to,” said Dixon. “You have a legal team, a judge and probation officers are going to do whatever they can to help you succeed.”

In 2001, Robert Miller graduated from the program and has been working at the drug court ever since. He said he is grateful to Judge Thomas Yeager (the first judge to preside over the drug court), and the program for the opportunity to get sober and get on the right path.

“I’m just grateful every day to live a responsible and productive kind of life,” said Miller. “I was going nowhere fast in my active addiction.”

Miller has been sober for over 20 years now and said he enjoys being able to help people out of addiction, the same way he was given help when he was in their situation.

“This program gives me an opportunity to give back to them,” said Miller. “What we do here is help people, but they need to want to help themselves. If a person is laying down, you don’t just walk over them, you have to reach down and pick them up. We all have a lot of love and care and compassion and we’re going to do all we can to help the next individual that comes in here.”

Like Miller, thousands of others have graduated from the program. Ashley Corcoran-West is a graduate and said that the program saved her life.

“It went from feeling impossible to do to feeling like I had a family here, to feeling like okay, this isn’t a punishment, this is a form of treatment,” said Corcoran-West. “Everybody here from the people that do urine screens to the counselors to the case managers to the judge, they all care, and once you open your eyes to that, they can do amazing things. They saved my life.”

The Rapides Drug Court is a beacon of hope in Central Louisiana and gives people another chance to lead a drug and alcohol-free life.

“They do so many positive things and the ability to help so many people because everybody here really does care,” said Corcoran-West. “I really wish they had the capability to do it on a larger scale because I feel like they just promote so much positive change in the community.”

The Rapides Drug Court is hosting an event in honor of National Recovery Month on Saturday, Sept. 24, at noon at the Drug Court building on Washington St. in Downtown Alexandria.

Rapides Drug Court Event, September 24.
Rapides Drug Court Event, September 24.(Credit: KALB)

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and are looking for help, CLICK HERE.

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