Recovering drug addicts face new beginning

Chris Hernandez
Chris Hernandez
Kahea Poe
Kahea Poe

By Minna Sugimoto bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Six people from different walks of life battling the same problem -- drug addiction.

On Friday, the six men and women from Oahu took a giant step in their recovery. They graduated from the state's Family Drug Court.

Program officials say the goal is to help participants achieve lasting abstinence, and become responsible parents and productive members of society.

Dealing with a restless child is something Chris Hernandez cherishes.

"I wasn't devoting as much time as I needed to to my children," he said. "Now today, they're my life."

A marijuana user since the 7th grade, the 30-year-old father of four knew he needed to kick his habit or he'd lose his kids.

"I took them back to the clean and sober house," he recalled. "My daughter said, 'We don't live here, Dad. What are we doing? They said this was just a visit.' How do you explain that to these kids that's so full of life?"

Now, he and five other recovering addicts are graduating from the state's Family Drug Court, which offers selected defendants the opportunity to complete drug treatment, and obtain parenting and job skills, in lieu of prison.

"You have all these people at first you say intruding on your life," Hernandez said. "But then once you start getting accustomed and becoming part of the system, then you understand that they're helping you."

Hernandez's significant other, Kahea Poe, was hooked on crystal methamphetamine. The 25-year-old says she was on it for two years, and nothing else mattered.

"When you're on the drug, you have no feelings," she said. "You don't feel guilty about your kids and they didn't get this or they didn't get that."

She says she's been clean for 17 months, and is ready to be a mom.

"I love it," she said. "I actually appreciate them today. I love it."

Hernandez, who's been clean for 10 months, says he's received a couple of job offers.

This was the Family Drug Court's 20th graduating class.