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Drug Court graduate hopes to help others facing addictions

By Rebecca Pepin
Published On: Apr 19 2013 10:03:02 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 19 2013 10:13:53 PM CDT
BRISTOL, Va. -

A proud graduate of the Veritas Drug Court program in Bristol, Virginia received her certificate today.

The Veritas Drug Court program operates under the supervision of the Circuit Court Judge; currently the Honorable Sage B. Johnson.

Veritas is a Latin word meaning truth. 

The program was designed to enhance public safety by providing intense supervision, effective drug treatment, case management and frequent judicial oversight to drug addicted offenders with the goal of returning them to the community as sober, law abiding, productive individuals.  The program has been in operation in the City of Bristol since April of 2009.

Mother of three, Jackie Boomershine, 30, celebrated her graduation today.

"I guess I've been an avid drug user for about half my life, probably 15 years," said Boomershine.

Boomershine had hit rock bottom; facing charges and addicted to drugs, she joined Bristol''s Veritas Drug Court program in January of 2012.

It's an intense program that requires participants to be completely accountable, they're closely supervised by a judge and they're drug tested three times a week.

Participants are required to be employed, to perform community service, to attend community support groups, to pay a $25 monthly drug court fee, and to abide by a curfew.

Jackie Boomershine said the program has been a blessing to her and her family. 

"The people here, the support, the structure that they give you. They give you everything that you need, you know your little toolbox, you just have to apply it to your life," said Boomershine.

Drug court leaders said keeping people like Boomershine out of jail saves about $35,000 per person, per year.
    
Program coordinator Susan Morrow said the most gratifying aspect of Drug Court is watching people turn their lives around.

"I was just thinking about the day I first met her (Jackie Boomershine) and the person I met then, and the person who's coming here to graduate and it's unbelievable," said Morrow.

"You can see it in the way she talks, the way she dresses, the way she acts," said Jackie's mother Belinda James.

And although Jackie Boomershine knows this success is simply one milestone, she's grateful for this fresh start.

"I feel like the worst part is over, I feel like it is, but there's still a long way to go, you know it's never really over."
         
Jackie said she has plans to go to Northeast State Community College to become a substance abuse counselor.

Bristol''s Drug Court has about 18 to 25 people enrolled at any given time.
    
It's completely federally funded.