Millions Around the World Learn that 'Drug Courts Save' During Special Edition of CNN’s Piers Morgan Live

 

On Friday, July 26, CNN’s Piers Morgan Live devoted nearly ten minutes to talking Drug Courts in front of a worldwide audience of millions tuning in from over 200 countries. As guest host, All Rise Ambassador Matthew Perry chose to devote part of the show to Drug Courts, saying “there is a tremendous amount of hope and people can change. I want that message out there.” The segment featured NADCP CEO West Huddleston, who explained to the audience what Drug Courts are, how they work, and why they are successful. “75% of our graduates never see another pair of handcuffs…but that doesn’t tell the entire story. We cut crime in half compared to jail or prisons..and that saves tax payers a ton of money,” he said as pictures of Drug Courts in action flashed on the screen.

Perry then introduced viewers to Alby Zweig who graduated from the Denver Drug Court in 1997 after nearly a decade addicted to heroin. “I was lucky because I was put into a Drug Court and the stability and the structure of Drug Court changed something,” he said. “I started to have pieces of my life that I had lost come back to me. I had the opportunity to go to law school, that lead to working in the same Public Defender’s office that had represented me in my case, and this February I was appointed to be a Magistrate in the same court that had really helped to save my life twenty years before.” “It’s stories like that that fuel my engine,” said Perry.  “I want stories like that to get as much press as possible.”

 


(L) NADCP CEO West Huddleston talks Drug Court. (R) Drug Court Magistrate Alby Zweig tells his story.

 

The conversation then turned to treatment. Renowned addiction and treatment expert Dr. David Sack noted that Drug Courts have helped demonstrate that “when there is a consequence it motivates people to get treatment.”  Perry opened up about his own experience with addiction and the difficulty he had accepting the need for treatment.  “There is no person that could make me go and I had gigantic consequences.” He shared that it was only the realization that he could die any day from his disease that he got serious about treatment. Huddleston added that thankfully there are Drug Courts to ensure that when addicted people enter the criminal justice system they are able to get into a program where people care about them and will monitor and support them as they complete treatment.

The segment wrapped on a high note with  Perry asking how many people have been saved by Drug Court. “In the past 24 years we have saved a million people,” said Huddleston. “That is fantastic,” added Perry as the two hi-fived.