Drug Court graduates share hope for the future

Published 8:00 am Thursday, February 15, 2024

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The 5th Judicial Drug Treatment Court celebrated its new graduates.    

Savannah Duck of Suffolk and Dennis Ricks of Southampton were honored by the Honorable Judge L. Wayne Farmer and the Drug Treatment Court Team for completing their drug court program on Friday, Feb. 9, at the City of Suffolk Courthouse. Much joy was in the air with their family, court, and city officials in tow. Both Duck and Ricks celebrated being officially off probation during the graduation.

Following the ceremony, 5th Judicial Drug Treatment Court Coordinator Terry Tate reflected on the work of both Duck and Ricks, noting “excitement” and “joy” for them.

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“Not many people know the struggle that many of them have faced before they got to drug court, and as many of you know, drug court is a very intense program. It’s not easy, it’s not a get out of jail free card, it’s a lot of hard work and it takes a lot to graduate and to see them walk across the stage or get their certificates today. It lets me know that I’m doing the right thing, and we’re doing our job,” Tate said. “And so today I feel a lot of joy, excitement and I’m excited to keep doing what we’re doing and more people will graduate eventually.”

Talking about her feelings on the graduation, Duck says it is “bittersweet” as she says she graduated for her friend Brittney Johnson.

“We all have our struggles at the beginning, I know I did. And she was 32 and she was from Suffolk, and she overdosed and died in April of 2022. She had a little girl, two years old,” Duck reflected. “I released balloons on her birthday at Drug Court.”

Ricks talked about the rigorous process of the program.

“You have to be dedicated [and] you have to be committed to it. But if you are committed and dedicated to it, you can succeed,” Ricks said. “It’s not easy and you got to want to. You got to want to.”

On their plans for the future, Ricks says that his future will be brighter.

“It’s a brand new start,” Ricks “The start of it was the first day I came into the program…”

Likewise, Duck says that she plans to continue going to school and continue going forward after that. On what she would like to do?

“My goal was to get into the military, but I have issues with my foot right now. So hopefully, if I get that all handled, that’s what I want to do,” Duck said.