GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – It is not every day you see a graduation held inside a courtroom.

Nicole LaForge is one of 53 graduates of the Brown County Heroin Court treatment program. LaForge says she experienced many twists and turns on the road to recovery.

Back in 2019-2020, I was addicted to meth and heroin for a very long time and have had overdoses, and it took me going to jail to finally get it together, get accepted into this program, and then do all the necessary steps to get my life back in order,” stated LaForge.

Brown County leaders say they have the most alternative courts in the country. Brown County executive Troy Streckenbach says the program offers a second chance for individuals struggling with addiction.

“Prison or jail does not make sense, maybe if we can help work on the core root problems that got them before the court, maybe they can be back in their family’s life or back in society as a productive member of our community,” explained Streckenbach.

LaForge is pursuing a degree in business administration from the College of Menominee Nation and hopes to set a positive example for those recovering.

“I just never gave up, and I would encourage everybody else when things get hard just remember like your worst day when you were using is always going to be better than your worst day sober,” said Laforge.

The Brown County Heroin Court program accepted its first participant in March of 2015.