WAUKESHA COUNTY -- Attorney General Brad Schimel and Waukesha County officials held a special graduation ceremony Wednesday, March 22nd, celebrating two people graduating from the county's drug treatment court.
A year ago, the graduates were in jail, and routinely overdosing on heroin. On Wednesday, they graduated with a clean slate and hopeful future.
Ben Sigl was beaming Wednesday.
"I didn't know this day would ever come," Sigl said.
One year ago, the former drug addict was at his lowest of lows.
"My life was hell. I was overdosing on average once every six months, requiring medical intervention every time. The last one I was lucky to come back. They almost didn't have enough Narcan to bring me back," Sigl said.
Thankfully, they did, and Sigl is now clean, full of life and a graduate of the Waukesha County Drug Treatment Court. He was one of two people to successfully complete the program on Wednesday.
"This is my second chance," Zack Smith said.
Smith said he is amazed at how his work has paid off. He has a full-time job and plans to go back to school. A year ago, his outlook was much different.
"12 months ago I was in jail. I had overdosed in my car," Smith said.
Waukesha's drug treatment court is an alternate path to prison for many. It is often offered to people most at-risk.
Schimel started the program five years ago.
"You need a reminder once in a while that people can succeed. They are redeemable, and drug treatment courts give us a chance to see that," Schimel said.
Since the beginning of Waukesha's drug court, there have been 78 graduates, including Sigl and Smith.
"It's a major miracle," Sigl said.
"Now I feel like anything is possible and I believe it," Smith said.
Waukesha officials said drug treatment court has a 56 percent success rate. Nationally, the average success rate of similar programs is 50 percent. There are 50 drug court programs across Wisconsin.