Singer Jeff Bates attends Drug Court graduation in Hattiesburg

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Mississippi singer and songwriter Jeff Bates was a special guest at the Tweltfth Circuit Drug Court ceremony at the Lake Convention Center Monday.

The ceremony celebrated 16 graduates who have overcome drug addictions. Bates regularly uses the spotlight to tell his story of addiction, arrest, recovery and redemption.

Bates said, "I know what it takes to remain, sober and I do it so hopefully inspire other people, to say hey you know we can do this, if I can anybody can, and there's a better way and a better life."

He continued, "We do not have to keep doing this to ourselves, and those we love and we can be a productive self to society.”

Drug courts seek to rehabilitate drug-using offenders through drug treatment and intense supervision with frequent court appearances and random drug testing.

Circuit Judge Robert Helfrich said, "Drug court is a three year program, for those that there crimes were associated with their addictions, it is a very stringent program, they have to complete whatever treatment is prescribed, they meet with me on a weekly basis, they are tested at least twice a week.”

Mississippi currently has 42 drug courts and about 3,500 people are enrolled in drug courts statewide. Bates said a second chance means a lot to former addicts.

“To me that’s what drug court is all about, its about going forward, that one second chance, moving on with our lives, a better life than we had before" said Bates.

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