New youth drug court to launch locally

NESHOBA COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - The local war on drugs is getting a shot in the arm. A new youth drug court is set to launch locally.

"Drug courts across the state save an estimated $46 million in incarceration," says Chancery Judge Joey Kilgore. He will supervise the new court. "In addition, this court will save an immeasurable amount of money in treatment costs."

Set to open on August 1st, the youth drug court will serve six Mississippi Counties, which include Winston and Neshoba.

"Parents are absolutely vital to this," says Kilgore. "In many of these cases parents come in and say, 'I can't do anything with them,' but with this they're going to have to be involved."

The youth court will target young people ages 11-17. All participants will be referred by a drug court team.

"Sometimes we see them in the papers doing the same things, and we're hoping to end that cycle so that the traffic through the adult circuit courts is reduced, and that these people are productive citizens," says Kilgore.

Each participant in the new youth drug court will undergo regular drug testing, and is expected to be under court supervision for at least one year.

There are currently 14 youth drug courts in Mississippi. The one that will open next week will serve the 6th Chancery District. Young people who qualify from Kemper County will also be able to participate. According to Judge Kilgore, Neshoba County currently has the largest drug court for adults in Mississippi.