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What Are Drug Courts and How Do They Work?

A subject matter that often comes up in conjunction with discussing rehabilitation and criminal activity is the question of drug courts, what it really is and how it works. Because drug addicted individuals may often find themselves in legal trouble as a result of their addiction, certain programs are put in place to help get to the root of the problem for the sake of both the individual and the tax payers. Drug courts were designed to allow drug addicted individuals to enroll in a one year (minimum) program that would give said individual an opportunity to get professional help. During this program, participants undergo extensive and intensive treatment needed for them to get back to a state of normalcy.  They would regularly meet with the court judge for accountability purposes and for progress review and the individual must be willing to submit a number of drug tests (oftentimes at random). The individual is lauded for their progress within the program and admonished when falling back on what’s required.


Eligibility is determined first by the justice system depending on the regulations established by each individual state. The justice system must do a screening based on factors concerning their criminal history, types of crimes committed, number of convictions, seriousness of the crime and more. Secondly, a clinical screening must be done to asses whether or not the individual is in fact a victim of substance abuse addiction or not. Doing so would determine the appropriate actions and programs needed to be put in place for that particular individual. Drug courts typically are found to have been successful in helping individuals get back on their feet and decrease recidivism. It is encouraged that each state, city and district embrace the drug court model as it has been statistically found effective in treatment and a recourse for individuals struggling with criminal behavior associated with substance abuse.


For reference and more information concerning drug courts please visit the following sites: