September 20, 2005
Statistics say 80 percent of inmates at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Jail and jails across the country abuse drugs in some way. Here's the story of one former Charlottesville inmate who not only turned his life around but who is also helping others recover from addiction.
For 35 years, Herb Dickerson abused drugs and committed numerous crimes to keep up his habit. He was in and out of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional jail more times than he wants to remember.
"I wouldn't stop at anything to get the drug of my choice," said Dickerson.
From heroin, crack cocaine, to marijuana and alcohol, Dickerson used it all.
"I think my lowest point [was] when I lied and said my mother had died [in order] to get a paycheck from my employer to buy drugs," said Dickerson.
His highest point was four years ago when he gave up a life of drugs.
"I got clean April 21st, 2001," said Dickerson.
Dickerson credits the drug rehabilitation program at the jail and Region Ten with his success. Now he wants to give back.
Today Region Ten announced that Dickerson will head up a Charlottesville chapter of the Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance.
"[SAARA] is a local grassroots advocacy group that really works to increase resources available to people with addictions within the community," said Neta Davis of Region Ten.
"If we just save one or two [people, and give them] a better way of life, it will be worthwhile," said Dickerson.
The first meeting of the Charlottesville chapter of the SAARA program is on October 19th at 6 p.m. at the Region Ten offices on 4th Street NW.