National Drug Control Policy Acting Director Speaks at March Drug Court Graduation

DC Superior Court held its third Drug Court graduation of the year on March 15 and there was a full house in courtroom C-10. After current program participants received their certificates for transitioning into a new phase, the graduates were greeted by Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy, Kemp Chester, who encouraged them to ‘stay strong’ in this new chapter of their lives. He urged them to remember take their journey day by day and never give up.

The D.C. Metropolitan Police cadets also attended the graduation to show their support. As graduates received their certificates of completion, many of them informed the crowd of how thankful they were for the program in both the good times and the bad. One graduate even spoke of the difficulty of being in the ‘dark place, consumed by drugs and alcohol’ but how the program works and has changed his life for the better.

Presiding Drug Court Judge Wendell Gardner delivered the closing remarks, bringing smiles to everyone in the room as he spoke of how important it was for not just the graduates and participants to be involved in the program, but everyone. “This is not just a court effort, or a Pretrial Services Agency effort, it’s a community effort. We do this for the community.” Judge Gardner continued on, speaking of the joy it brings him when he runs into past program participants in the city who are sober and doing well. To the current graduates, he said, “Hang in there, and remember the things you were told during the drug court process. Don’t give up before you have the chance to succeed.