Floyd and Giles Co. approved for two new drug court programs in the NRV

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GILES CO.(WSLS 10) –  As the drug epidemic continues to grow on a nationwide scale, local communities are taking a new approach to tackle the issue.

The Supreme Court recently approved two new drug courts in the New River Valley, one in Floyd and another in Giles County.

Drug courts are an alternative program that helps to rehabilitate non-violent drug offenders without overcrowding the jail system and providing help to those addicted.

Drug courts in Roanoke and Pulaski have already proven successful.

Bobby Lilly is the Giles County Commonwealth Attorney. Every day, he sees first-hand the problem addiction has become.

"Well over half of our docket is drug-related," Lilly said.

Not only are the majority of cases seen in Giles's court room drug related, the people who are committing these crimes are repeat offender, stuck in a vicious cycle.

"I would say that somewhere between 75 and 90-percent of the people who reoffend who come into court on a probation violation have substance abuse as one of the issues that landed him back in front of the judge in the first place," Lilly said.

He says drug abuse needs to be addressed at the source of the problem. He says drug abuse is not an issue that the court alone can solve, especially considering the long amount of time it can take to be heard before a judge and in between court hearings.

"Sometimes it takes months even a year parents know that's not an effective way discipline children and it certainly not any more effective for people with substance abuse problem," Lilly said.

Lilly explains that is where drug court differs.

If a person is not doing well in the program and has a relapse, he is in front of the judge in only about two weeks. That way we can help the person who wants to be helped try to address the issue," Lilly said.

Lilly says details are still being worked out but, but organizations involved including New River Valley Community Services hope to have the first drug court by the beginning of 2016.

Drug court will come at no additional cost to the county. All employees of the program are already currently employees of the County. Lilly says they hope to seek additional funding from grants in the future.

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