When teen girls join their high school cheerleading squad, injuries are common. But what's rare is for a team member to become hooked on painkillers following constructive surgery.
That's exactly what happened to Alice Ann Walker at age 17.
"I fell during a cheerleading stunt and tore my ACL and I had surgery and became addicted to pills after the surgery," Walker said.
The dependency, she said, progressed as she became depressed over the ‘pains of life'. Her drug abuse included popping 30 to 40 pills a day, using heroin, cocaine and Methadone--its primary function is to help addicts during detoxification.
"I went to a doctor and he prescribed them to me and I abused them," she said.
Two years ago, the 34-year-old Columbus native's life hit rock bottom, the turning point to her recovery.
"I ended up getting arrested because of my drug addiction," Walker recalled. "I had a wreck and went to jail for DUI and I had pills on me."
After 90 days in jail, Walker was released and went to rehab, but was accepted in the Muscogee County Drug Court Program, started by Judge Frank Jordan.
"What we are most proud of is the fact that we have 7 babies who have been delivered drug free and the significance is a child born that has drugs in their system will have problems throughout their life," stated Jordan.
Judge Jordan handed Walker her certificate along with 16 other graduates who recently completed the 18 month program.
"I feel confident, I feel that God has a great plan for my life and I want to be of service to help others so they don't have to go through what I went through," Walker said.
The five phase program is for offenders who've pleaded guilty to at least two non-violent crimes. Participants must attend counseling sessions, drug treatment and remain drug free. Since its inception, 103 have enrolled, 75 graduated and 32 were terminated, according to the program coordinators.
The Muscogee County District Attorney's Office works in conjunction with the judges in helping to make the program is a success.
For more information about the program, contact Drug Court at 706-587-7463.