Overcoming addiction through Drug Court, participants getting clean and finding jobs

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - People facing drug related charges in Vanderburgh County are finding success in a special treatment program. Drug Court is an intensive, three year program meant to encourage lifestyle changes.

Overcoming addiction does not happen overnight or behind bars. Addicts are putting their charges behind them thanks to Drug Court.

Participants get treatment and support catered to their needs. The are phased back into normal life with the accountability of daily drug tests. It is an opportunity given only to people who show the most promise to want to get and stay clean. It is helping them get a job, too. Prosecutor Nick Hermann says employers in the community are looking for two essential qualities. They are things they require but have a difficult time finding: someone who can pass a drug test and will show up to work every day.

"When you have a participant who's gone through drug court program, you know that they're clean, and you know that they're reliable because that program is not easy, and it's not short. People who do graduate and make it through the program have something that I think gives them an advantage over other people," says Hermann.

Clean and reliable are qualities you will find in John Dorraugh. He is set to graduate Drug Court in April, two months early. He is already on the brink of a promotion at work.

"It's time to change. You've got to. You can't keep doing this anymore," says Dorraugh.

Dorraugh just celebrated two years sober in January. He now works at TriValence. His coworkers cannot say enough good things about him both as a person and an employee. His supervisor plans to promote him to a lead position soon. All because the company took a chance on hiring a man with a drug conviction.

"You know what you're set out to do, and you know where your heart's at, but other people don't. All they know is oh my gosh this guy just went to prison for methamphetamine and alcohol. I had an interview with them. They believed me, and it paid off for both of us," says Dorraugh.

"I could tell right off the bat just because he wants to better himself, and he cares so much about what he does out there. He is... he's a find," says Production Supervisor Jim Vanzant.

Dorraugh is a model employee now, but his past is riddled with alcoholism and meth. His addiction landed him a seven year sentence. Years he is not serving, but instead walking free.

"For us, it's the biggest opportunity of a lifetime because that's 4 years off of my sentence, but I am accountable," says Dorraugh.

Accountability is a key component of the program that is proving successful.

"It's also a safety net. When you first get out, okay you're released back into the world now, the liquor stores are right there. Your old friends, all that's right there. It also serves as a safety net I'd say because you know in the back of your mind if you do anything, you're going back to prison," says Dorraugh.

When you do everything right, Dorraugh says, "I mean how many times are you in the court room and people stand up and clap for you? I mean drug court's awesome. When you do something good, they commend you for it. The opportunities are endless really."

John is taking full advantage of the opportunity. He has followed the program flawlessly.

"Once you reach a certain point in your recovery, that stuff doesn't matter anyways. You already know where you're going. I know I'm never going to do it again, any of it," says Dorraugh.

John says the respect and support he has from both TriValence and Drug Court means everything to him. He and his fiance Ashley are getting married in October. His daughter Libby Jo is now two years old. He knows these things are things he would have missed without this opportunity.

Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved.