Two Graduate From Brookings County Drug Court


We’ve been hearing a lot about drug use and overdoses around the country. The most recent being the reported heroin overdose of singer Demi Lovato. But, one program in South Dakota is becoming more popular to help those addicted to drugs. After several months of treatment, two people in Brookings County can say they graduated from drug court. 

Joe Brinkman and his fiancé Jennifer both graduated from the Brookings County Drug Court Thursday afternoon. Brinkman says he has turned his life around from the past.

“Lot of drug use, lot of finding drugs, trying to find drugs, trying to sell stuff that I owned from previous years to get more drugs, didn’t care about anything but drugs,” drug court graduate, Joe Brinkman said.

People have to participate in the drug court program for at least 18 months. It’s a program Brookings County State’s attorney Teree Nesvold says not only saves lives, but gives them back.

“When people talk about a drug epidemic, yes we have one, and it’s really interesting to know how many people are functioning drug addicts, but if we can get that one person to know what it’s like to live sober, to be sober, and to give back to society, it doesn’t just touch them, it touches the community and families,” Brookings County State’s attorney, Teree Nesvold said.

“It turned my life around, I was on the verge of basically death if I would have kept going down the same road,” Brinkman said.

Both graduates today now have a combined total of over 850 days sober.

“When they come into our program, they are in the deepest, darkest part of their addiction, they’ve been caught, they can go to the penitentiary, and here we’re giving them that second chance,” Nesvold said.

A second chance Brinkman is thankful for.

“There are things that make me happy, before it was drugs that make me happy but now it’s my kids,” Brinkman said.

Nesvold says this is the fourth graduation from drug court in Brookings County.

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