It's something that has saved many lives and helped provide an alternative to prison time. The Northern Hills Drug Court celebrated its 15th graduating class Tuesday in Sturgis.
The program is designed to provide a support system for offenders fighting substance abuse issues.
Family, friends and fellow drug court participants gathered to celebrate the sobriety of the 4 latest graduates.
Among the crowd was South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, who praised the graduates' efforts and spoke of the necessity of programs like this to provide help, "One of the problems with incarcerating people who have problems with addictions is, we may not fear them, they might be non–violent, but we need to hold them accountable in ways that help them become sober & straight, so they can become productive members of society, they can hold down jobs, they and support their families, instead of being in prison where families are left without support ".
Started in 2007, the northern hills drug court was the first of its kind in South Dakota and due its success other specialty courts have been started throughout the state.