Drug court receives additional funding

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The 15th Circuit Drug Court is expected to be able expand its treatment services after receiving two grants distributed by Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources.

In a press release from the State of Mississippi Judiciary Administrative Office of Courts in Jackson, in October last year, the Bureau of Justice Assistance provided the local drug court with funds to employ a clinician and a peer support specialist to better assist drug court participants.

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The BJA grant totals $898,209 and will be used for different projects over the next three years.

“We are fully utilizing the services of both employed specialists. The clinician interviews participants and creates a program according to their suitability. The peer support specialist works with the participants to help them establish a better relationship with the recovery support services, ” said 15th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Prentiss Harrell said in the release.

In October of this year, the local drug court received $898,131 in additional funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that will help pay for participant drug rehabilitation treatment at Clearview Recovery Center in Hattiesburg.

According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, close to 7.0 million adults in the United States had some sort of a mental illness or have been victims of drug abuse.

Harrell said his office is looking forward to using money from the funds to provide necessary treatment to drug court participants by sending them to accredited and reputable healthcare providers.  Currently the 15th Circuit Drug Court, which includes Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Lawrence, Marion and Pearl River counties has 265 participants enrolled in drug court. Harrell said he could not recall the exact number, but Pearl River County residents make up the largest number of participants in his district.

“Although our main office is in Columbia, we have opened a satellite office in Millard, which is more convenient for the residents of the county,” Harrell said.

Approximately 271 participants are enrolled in the seven-county Third Circuit Drug Court, and 120 participants are enrolled in the three county Fourth Circuit, the release states.

“With mental health services becoming increasingly inaccessible and expensive, through our recovery support project we are happy to support all those impacted due to substance abuse and any mental health disorder,” Harrell said.