OPELIKA, Ala. — One man tells News 3 he’s thankful for another chance at life. He graduated from drug court at the Lee County Justice Center in Opelika.
32-year-old Nicholas Kizinkiewicz tells me, his addiction to drugs started when he was 19. He says a few years back his addiction led to commit a felony crime, but thanks to this program, he now has a clean slate.
“At times it’s a struggle when you’re like me…I’m an addict and I have no problem saying that… But it took me a long time to realize that,” says Kizinkiewicz.
Thursday, Nicholas Kizinkiewicz was one of seven to graduate from the Lee County Justice Center Drug Court Program. Now 32-year-old Kizinkiewicz says his long stint with drug addiction began when he was 19. He says it also led him to getting a felony theft charge back in 2015.
“Tt was a non-drug-related offense, however but it had everything to do with drugs,” says Kizinkiewicz.
Kizinkiewicz says he played college baseball and was in out and out of the hospital for knee surgery. He says he found himself becoming addicted to Oxycodone, Xanax and other medicines that were prescribed to him.
“At this point I was seriously looking at a felony charge that definitely would’ve put me away…If I did not complete this I would have charges right here today. If I failed this…which would be ten years,” says Kizinkiewicz.
Kizinkiewicz says the Lee County drug court saved his life. He says through the program he was able to find work in Pensacola, Florida where he now lives, with his one month old baby.
“My life has a meaning today but before it didn’t. I was living with no principle, no morals. I was lying, cheating, stealing my way through life and today I’m a man of integrity,” says Kizinkiewicz.
Kizinkiewicz says for six months, he would drive from Pensacola to Opelika, once a month to participate in the program. Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones says it’s this kind of dedication that will help carry a participant in the long run.
According to Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker, the drug court program started three years ago. He says more than 100 people have since graduated from the program. He also says 94 percent of those who graduate the program stay out of jail.
The judge also adds since the start of the program three years ago, participants have completed about 12,000 hours of community service.