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Nick Shepherd

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Drug court offers road to recovery

March 15th, 2014 10:00 pm by Nick Shepherd

Drug court offers road to recovery

David Ray was quickly reaching bottom. He was smoking bath salts and crack, doing pills and drinking all day long.

He was on the run from the police. He barely ate and weighed maybe 138 pounds. He was walking a razor thin edge between life and death. One night, he may have crossed the edge.

"I don't know if I died or not," he said. "I just know I fell out and I came to with somebody that threw me in a cold shower. I remember realizing ... I'm going to die ... if I don't do something. I don't want to die like this. For the first time, it scared me."

So David called his sister and told her he wanted to turn himself in to police. He had been telling her all day that she could pick him up at this house or that house, but kept leaving before she could get there. By that night, he was ready.

He sat outside the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office for six hours before they got him in. He was so high and exhausted, he fell asleep on the sidewalk.

"I knew I was going to die or I knew I was going to go to prison for the rest of my life because I was out there doing crazy stuff," David said. "I knew in my heart I was better than that."

While he was in jail, David spoke with a detective who knew his family. He told her he needed help, but had no clue what to do or where to go.

She told David there was a program and she was going to try to get him in it.

"I went back to my cell and I told my God of my understanding that I would change my life if I had another opportunity," he said. "For the first time, I meant that."

He went to court the next day and the court sent him to the Sullivan County drug court.

A drug court is a court that has special dockets designed to achieve a reduction in recidivism and substance abuse among nonviolent, substance-abusing felony and non-felony offenders. Drug courts increase the likelihood for successful rehabilitation through early, continuous and intense judicially supervised treatment, mandatory periodic drug testing and the use of appropriate sanctions and other rehabilitation services.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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