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Pulaski County hosts drug court graduation

Pulaski County's drug court was the first of its kind in the New River Valley.

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – Pulaski County's drug court was the first of its kind in the New River Valley. Today, two new drug court graduates are crediting the program with saving their lives. 

"I have a future to look forward to, rather than not caring if I died tomorrow," said Dustin Assad, a drug court graduate. 

Dustin Assad is celebrating. He's officially a graduate of the Pulaski County drug court. Before entering the program, Dustin was making meth and homeless. Today he is holding down a job, holding tight to his family, and holding a lot of gratitude for the program that saved his life. 

"Whenever I'd fall they'd pick me back up. They got me into counseling, I talked about my problems. They were there for me the whole way," said Assad. 

So far, four people have graduated from Pulaski County's drug court. Today, 13 people are in the program. That's 13 lives that Judge Marcus Long is hoping to change. 

"Addiction is a terrible disease and it is a disease and it's really hard to get over. The drug court gives them the structure and support to get through it," said Judge Marcus Long, a circuit court judge for the 27th district. 

Eric Cizl is graduating alongside Dustin. He was arrested for selling drugs. 

"I don't know where I'd be if it wasn't for the program. I would most definitely be in jail or prison. Maybe dead," said Cizl. 

Today, Eric is miles away from his rock bottom. 

"Today I am a lead man at my job. I've got my license back, I've got a car, I've got a home, I've got a good relationship with my family and my children and I also have a good relationship with my higher power," said Cizl. 

Next week, Giles County will host its first drug court graduation.