Drug Court Expands to Meet Needs of Military VeteransBy Rhonda Miller | Published 30 Jan 2012 10:54pm |
A new drug court for veterans has started for Jackson, George and Greene Counties. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports on a program for those who have served in the often traumatic fight for freedom.
In his office in the courthouse in Pascagoula, Judge Robert Krebs says in the nine years he’s been on the bench in the 19th Circuit Drug Court, he has seen men and women coming home from military service with alcohol and drug problems.
"They’re coming back with a host of problems, if you look at the literature," says Krebs. "Suicide, a lot of lost limbs, PTSD etcetera, and those are all enough reasons to start a court to try to help these young men and women as they come home."
Krebs says two men and one woman are in the program he started at the end of last year. With mentoring by veterans and collaboration with the Veterans Administration, Krebs says he’s expanding on the highly successful regular drug court, which has a success rate of about 85 percent.
A 36-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified, says she was prescribed pain medication after many surgeries. She says she was addicted for years, until she got caught writing her own prescriptions, and got sent to drug court. So she could understand how veterans might benefit from this program.
"Because you still have all of life’s issues you weren’t dealing with because you were hiding in an addiction fog. So when the fog is lifted, the mess is still there and you still have to fix it," she says.
Drug court helped fix her life. Completing the program erased her felony charge. Now she works as a paralegal, she’s married and has two children.
After seeing many people come through Judge Krebs’ Drug Court, Case Manager Margaret Chapman says she thinks it’s important to add the program especially for veterans.
"I think, personally, it’s a great idea because we do have so many veterans that are from our area and that will be coming home, and a lot of them that are home," Chapman says. "And we have found that Drug Court works, if you work it. I’m just so glad we have something now for veterans."
The program is the third in the state. There are about 80 drug courts for veterans in the country.
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