After witnessing drugs destroy her family, Whitney Woodard never dreamed she would ever become involved in addiction that dealt her so much misery during her young life. Woodard told her story along with six other drug court graduates in a moving ceremony held recently in celebration of National Drug Court Month.
Woodard’s father died of a drug overdose when she was just 10-years-old. Her mother was also a drug addict and she was separated from her mother and went to live with her grandparents in Kingston. She thought she would never be tempted to try drugs, but when her high school sweetheart was killed in an automobile accident it sent her over the edge. She began taking medication to ease the pain of sorrow which led to marijuana.
When she was 19 years old, she was busted for selling marijuana to a confidential informant and her life suddenly changed. She was now a convicted felon and was given a ten year suspended sentence and placed on probation. One day after having a few drinks with friends she was stopped by police and received a DUI which meant going to prison for breaking probation.
After reviewing her record, she was admitted into the Bryan County Drug Court Program, saving her from going to prison. While never addicted to hard drugs, she realized her life had to change or face a life much like the one she escaped as a young child.
“This program has changed my life,” said Woodard. “It has taught me a whole new appreciation for family and friends and how to set goals for myself.”
The attractive 24-year-old has a promising career and is no longer ashamed or keeping secrets about drug abuse. After 18 months she has successfully completed the demanding program and has a fan club of friends who continue to tell her how proud they are of her and what she has accomplished.
“I still see my old friends,” she said. “I love them to death, but when I see them high on drugs they are like zombies and I have no desire to go back to that life.”
Recently her mother, who now lives in California, overdosed and nearly died. She accompanied her aunt to see her mother and discovered her younger brother was also an addict. She tried to get them into a drug court there, but they have to be in trouble and referred to the court by a special team that administers the program in each county.
“I have always had a relationship with God,” she said. “I got sidetracked when my boyfriend was killed, but by the grace of God and the friends I have it has lifted me up and made me proud of myself.”
Since beginning her drug free life she has found a new way to get a natural high. She has taken up skydiving and finds it much more fulfilling than drugs.