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Recovery Centers: What is Drug Treatment Court?

Drug Treatment Courts aim to stop drug abuse and related criminal activity of offenders through court-directed treatment and rehabilitative programs. Discover how they work and what makes them successful. 


How Drug Treatment Court Works

Drug treatment court is judicially supervised court dockets — an official summary of proceedings in a court of law for someone with serious substance abuse and mental health disorders. It provides a sentencing alternative or treatment combined with supervision. It works with participants who are eligible for treatment and rehabilitation programs by entering into rehab instead of traditional final sanctions like imprisonment. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it works as follows:


  • The Court’s multi-disciplinary justice and healthcare team is led by a judge, as a leader among equals, and oversees each individual’s progress.
  • Compliance is objectively monitored by frequent substance-abuse testing. It’s rewarded whereas non-compliance sanctioned.
  • Successful completion may lead to suspension or dismissal of the criminal case, non-custodial sentence or probation. 
  • Recidivism or serious program non-compliance usually leads to expulsion. The offender then goes through the traditional justice system.


Are They All Run the Same Way?

Although all drug treatment courts don’t run the same way, they do take a public approach using a specialized model with the following communities involved:

  • Judiciary
  • Probation
  • Prosecution
  • Defense Bar
  • Law Enforcement
  • Mental Health
  • Social Service
  • Treatment Communities

They work together to help addicted offenders into long-term recovery, with the first drug court introduced in Miami-Dade County in 1989 as a growing response to the crack cocaine problem plaguing Florida. As of 2014, approximately 3,057 drug courts represent every state in the union, along with District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, and various tribal regions.

Drug court treatment has an impressive record as the single most successful intervention in U.S. history for leading people struggling with serious addiction out of the justice system and into lives of health and long-term recovery. 


Effectiveness of Drug Courts in Utah

To understand how effective drug courts are, let’s start in Salt Lake City with the Utah Substance Abuse & Anti-Violence Coordinating Council, who completed a study in 2001 on the effectiveness of using drug courts instead of traditional incarceration for drug offenses. According to the report, 143 individuals who graduated from the Salt Lake County Drug Court were monitored 18 months after, with a comparison group of 150 individuals who were similar in terms of age, sex, race, and arrest history. Fifty-six individuals were involved but did not complete the program successfully.

Below is the analysis that concluded drug courts were more successful than jail time — statistically more significant than imprisonment. As you can see, with drug court, the new arrests were vastly lower than the control group. (15.4% of further drug-related arrests, as opposed to 84.6% for the control group)

For Drug Treatment Recovery, Contact Ardu Recovery Center

If you or a loved one is faced with drug treatment court and looking for a reputable rehab center, reach out to Ardu Recovery Center. We have the training and experience to ensure a safe and comfortable environment to detox from drugs and alcohol with our staff’s care and support. Contact us today for more information.