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Drug courts use the criminal justice system to address addiction through an integrated set of social and legal services instead of solely relying upon sanctions through incarceration or probation. This report surveys a range of research conducted on drug courts to date. Its aim is to outline general findings on the workings and efficacy of drug courts nationwide and to highlight potential concerns and areas where more research is needed.

A 2012 report, “Recidivism in Alaska’s Therapeutic Courts for Addictions and Department of Corrections Institutional Substance Abuse Programs,” released by the Alaska Judicial Council found that participants in therapeutic court programs had lower re-arrest and reconviction rates compared to offenders who didn’t participate in similar programs. It also found that Department of Corrections substance abuse programs were most effective for graduates. The report also provides recommendations for improving data collection on its programs.

The GAINS Center and NDCI believe that every adult drug court can achieve positive outcomes for persons with co-occurring disorders—if the court is committed to doing so. With some creativity and thoughtful planning, most persons with co-occurring disorders can successfully participate in drug courts. To effectively work with persons with mental illnesses co-occurring with substance use disorders, your court will need to understand and implement the six keys to success. Each step in this document addresses one of these keys: Step 1:: Know Who Your Participants Are and What They Need Step 2: Adapt Your Court Structure Step 3: Expand Your Treatment Options Step 4: Target Your Case Management and Community Supervision Step 5: Expand Mechanisms for Collaboration Step 6: Educate Your Team Funded by SAMHSA’s GAINS Center, these documents will help drug courts begin to address individuals with co-occurring disorders.

This report provides a blueprint for local and state policymakers and practitioners to implement best practices in providing effective family drug court (FDC) services. Well-functioning FDCs bring together substance abuse treatment (in lieu of incarceration), mental health, and social services agencies with the court and attorneys to meet the diverse needs of high-risk families in which parental substance use disorders contribute to child maltreatment. The document provides guidance for implementing an FDC, including the development of FDC partnerships and a common vocabulary for describing FDC components, with a focus on improving services to families who are involved with the child welfare system and are affected by substance use disorders.

Overview and background of drug courts - published by Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Originally published May 2014 - updated May 2016.

This brief provides information regarding the effectiveness of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in drug courts.

This report reviews the broader issues with current approaches to drug enforcement that have facilitated calls for reform, then demonstrates the need for drug policy reform in Harris County (Houston’s home) prior to implementation of the First Chance Intervention Program (FCIP). Next, the report evaluates the FCIP and suggests ways in which policy outcomes can be improved through the program’s expansion. Finally, the report concludes with a number of recommendations for Harris County going forward.

This brief presents findings from an evaluation of the Juvenile Drug Courts and Reclaiming Futures (JDC/RF) program. The Reclaiming Futures model unites juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to improve drug and alcohol treatment and connect teens to positive activities and caring adults.

This article highlights the history of juvenile drug courts, the characteristics of clients served in the evaluation, an analysis of critical components of both models, and the importance of community engagement.