Greenbrier Co. gets new drug court program - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Greenbrier Co. gets new drug court program

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LEWISBURG, W. Va (WVVA)-- Greenbrier County kicked off its new Juvenile Drug Court program Tuesday in a ceremony.

WV Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin attended. He told WVVA this program is proven to bring children back on track.

"The Juvenile Drug Court gives us an opportunity to begin giving these children back not only a future and a life, but also giving their family back a son or daughter," he said.

The program targets at-risk youth from 10-17 who officials believe have substance abuse problems. They can be drug/alcohol-related status offenders or even non-violent misdemeanor or felony offenders.

According to the JDC Probation Office, juveniles who used a weapon or firearm during the commission of the crime are ineligible for the program.

Mike Lacy, Director of Probation Services, said the program is an alternative to just sentencing the children and sending them back to their families and potentially, back into the drug environment.

"We'd like to try to address the issues as a family unit, to help the whole family to be better, to help the whole family to heal," he said.

"In my experience as a probation officer, we often saw kids grow up and [continue to] abuse drugs, going in and out [of the courts.] We want to put the treatment into that family to help break that cycle of substance abuse," Lacy added.

Through the Juvenile Drug Court program, those admitted will be drug tested periodically, undergo family and individual counseling, and have mandated court appearances.  They will also periodically be screened for substance abuse over the course of the program, which takes around 32 weeks to complete for the average person.

According to Lacy, this program benefits everyone in the community.

"It means less police involvement, less behavioral problems at school, and overall, less cost to the state of West Virginia," he said.

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