Lufkin woman example of drug court's success

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Morgan Thomas - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Illegal drugs can be found almost anywhere. But East Texas law enforcement face a unique problem.

"It's easy to put a trailer in the national forest and cook meth," said Dustin Fore, a supervisor of Specialized Casework Services.

That's what led Judge White to start his drug court almost six years ago. Then, other judges, followed suit. Dustin Fore was the first drug court officer.

"Angelina County over here basically took the initiative on its own to start a drug court to deal with the drug problem we have in this county," Fore said.

That's because the state only requires drug courts for counties with more than 200,000 residents. Angelina County, with a much smaller population, sees the need for the program, regardless.

"What we worry about is the governor's office is going to say OK," Fore said. "We got this pot of money and we have to fund the ones that are mandated."

Luckily the funding has come through, the last four years. For drug court graduates like Ashley Clark this means more second chances.

"You were accountable for everything you did," Clark said.

Clark was given the option of drug court, after completing rehab for a drug arrest.

Clark accepted the challenge.

"I came back and I started my counseling classes, my supervision here at probation and started going in front of Judge White once a week," Clark said.

Now she's on her way to becoming a chemical dependency counselor. Drug court led her to a new future.

"There is another way to get through the day without using," Clark said.

Which many say is proof Angelina County's drug court is a success.

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