By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a crowded Hennepin County boardroom life’s biggest success is being celebrated — victory over addiction.

“This is not an easy program. I don’t think any of the graduates here today would tell you that it was easy,” Judge Marta Chou said.

Here, 27 individuals were given the choice between prison time or treatment. They chose drug court.

“My name is Melissa Williams and I’m an addict.”

Her addiction to heroin supported by shoplifting.

“It was either do this drug court thing or go to Shakopee for 36 months, and right away I was thinking, the kids, who’s gonna take care of the kids?” Williams said.

Hennepin County’s drug court lets addicts choose a different path — treatment and intense counseling to help defeat the drug demon once and for all.

“It’s about what I really want as a person and what I want to do with my life,” one graduate said.

One by one, graduates expressed gratitude for a second chance.

“I found balance again,” another graduate said.

An IV meth user for 15 years, Tasha Wilson is convinced drug court saved her life.

“This is the first opportunity I really had to address my issues, get to the root of why I do what I do,” Wilson said.

Trading a harmful, destructive path for new beginnings. And celebrating with a slice of sweetness.

Many of today’s graduates, like Wilson, have been sober for a couple of years.

She plans on going back to school and committing herself to helping others.

Web Extra: Melissa’s Story

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