Big Island Drug Court graduates 13

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KEALAKEKUA — A slideshow of each Big Island Drug Court graduate showed two things: their mug shot and images of their transformation into a happier, sober life.

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KEALAKEKUA — A slideshow of each Big Island Drug Court graduate showed two things: their mug shot and images of their transformation into a happier, sober life.

The drug court program continues to increase the number of graduates since its inception in 2011. On Monday, 13 men and women were recognized in front of their family and friends for completing the program.

Drug Court Judge Melvin Fujino addressed all the graduates sitting in the 3rd Circuit Courtroom off of Halekii Street.

“It’s been an uphill battle with moments of doubt and difficulty,” he said.

Fujino told the graduates that each day they became stronger and have shown they can live a clean and sober life.

Deputy Prosecutor Mark Disher said that while everyone came from a different past there was one common theme — everyone was deep in his or her substance abuse.

“You will have different paths from here on forward,” Disher said. “From here on forward, you will have your own path.”

Each graduate was recognized in front of the gathering. They thanked their fellow drug court participants and the program’s leaders for the help and guidance they needed to break the cycle of addiction.

Jason Blais said the program helped reunite him with his family.

“Don’t ever think you have to do it alone,” he said while being recognized for his achievements.

Lucas Purcell was the first graduate to complete the program remotely from the in-treatment facility Sand Island Treatment Center on Oahu. Some participants are sent there for six months then come back to Hawaii Island to complete the program. Purcell was there for three years, checking in with Fujino by phone.

Purcell is also the first graduate to be offered a job at the treatment facility where he currently works on the medical team doing intakes, consultations, transcribing for doctors, along with other duties.

His goal is to get a nursing degree so he can be an onsite nurse at the treatment center, allowing the facility to do detox for incoming patients.

“It’s a godsend I was sent there,” Purcell said. “I’m being productive and I’m helping people in the community.”

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As they mingled outside after the ceremony, Fujino expressed his pride in this class and their achievements.

The 13 graduates of Big Island Drug Court on Monday were: Dylan Alcain, Jason Blais, Cheyanne Collins, Rex Desseaux, Deborah Dias, Rachel Finsand, Daetona Haase, Joshua Hufford, William Kahele, Brittney Mahelona, Kevin Nakamura, Lucas Purcell and Robert Shevlin.

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