TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It's a program that some say is harder than doing the time in prison.
But it has the potential of getting a heroin addict's life turned around for the good.
It's known as drug court.
Drug court was around when crack cocaine was a problem in Lucas County and now it's helping those once addicted to heroin. What happens in that courtroom is positive and definitely changing lives.
"There is nothing like the experience of drug court seeing young people heading in the right direction," said Honorable Judge Ian English. "They start to develop a future, and there's nothing more amazing to see young people start to think about where they will be in five or ten years."
But don't get it wrong, drug court is tough.
Only a handful of people are selected to get this second chance - to do the work and go there once a week rather than be sent to prison.
Many times there are slip ups with major consequences.
"Our drug court is intense, and it will take some time for people to get to the final phase," English said. "We need to make sure they have their addiction under control, their disease under control and ready for the real world before they graduate."
Drug Court Coordinator Renee Craft said the process takes dedication.
"They have to be dedicated to themselves. They have to want it for themselves," Craft says. "So the change doesn't come from the system, from us, what we want, it comes from them."
It's the changes of those happening in that courtroom that are fueling steps towards solving the heroin epidemic.
"The end of the epidemic is to end the war and start the healing," English said. "To rebuild our community, start processes in place for people to have employment, invest in futures and stop investing in incarceration."