Madison County Associate Judge Kyle Knapp congratulated Jonas Cathey before he spoke about overcoming drug addiction.

Madison County Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli congratulated Zachary T., for his success in graduating from Madison County Drug Court.

Graduates posed for a group photo Monday following their graduation ceremony from Madison County Drug Court.

Jonas Cathey of Wood River was one of 15 individuals who graduated Monday from Madison County's Drug Court, an alternative for citizens dealing with dependency issues.

Cathey told the audience how drugs turned him into a liar, cheat and thief.

"My life was a life of destruction," said Cathey, 31, who got into the drug program to get out of jail. "I'm grateful for this being an option today."

Madison County Associate Judge Kyle Napp and Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli presented the graduates with diplomas and court orders, closing their cases.

"What we're doing here is important," said Napp. "It's a tough program to get through. They have worked so hard to be here today."

The graduation was held to showcase the accomplishments of the participants and the successes of the drug program. Madison County Drug Court was the first such court in Illinois and has existed for more than 17 years.

Judges Ann Callis, Bill Mudge, Ben Beyers, Donald Flack, and Steve Stobbs also attended the ceremony.

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