What Is a Drug Court?

What Is a Drug Court?

Drug court is a specific program for those who are addicted to drugs

You may have heard the term drug court before but are not sure exactly what it means or how it works. No worries. In general, drug court is a specific program for those who are addicted to drugs and is separate from the normal court system. Instead of being included with all other cases, these cases are handled where attention can be given focusing on the specific mental health issues with addiction and substance abuse like to methadone. Drug courts have many benefits such as reducing the amount of drug use, reducing crime (especially drug-related crime) and saving the amount of taxpayer money spent. Drug courts help rebuild and restore lives. The following are some specific details to consider with drug court:

Who is eligible to go to drug court?

Eligibility for drug court depends first on where you live and on both the local (city and county) laws as well as state law. For example, in the city of Nashville, drug court is called the Davidson County Drug Court. Participation is completely voluntary unless the District Attorney General and/or the sentencing Judge in the county where conviction takes place agrees to the placement into drug court. Even then, drug court is for adult males and/or females who are dependent on substance abuse like to methadone and/or have a mental health diagnosis. These individuals also have been convicted of a non-violent felony or misdemeanor in Davidson County in Tennessee. The individual must be capable and willing to participate in drug court and also have a mental/medical health history submitted at time of referral. In this case, Davidson County must approve the client is a good fit for the Drug Court Program.

This is just an example of one specific drug court. The rules and requirements may vary from one location to another. Notice how in this example above the individual has been convicted of a non-violent felony or misdemeanor. If there was a violent offense, the individual may not qualify for drug court. With legal situations, each case is treated by the specific details of each individual. If you would like to find more information for a specific court’s eligibility guidelines, you can find more information here on the , which is a resource provided by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Remember, even with that information, it is just a guideline. The specific details may lead to a different result. The law is constantly changing and evolving.

How do drug courts work?

An individual is declared eligible or ineligible for a drug court based on the details of their case. If an individual is deemed eligible for the program, he or she may be sent to drug court in lieu of traditional court. A drug court keeps individuals in treatment while supervising them closely for any additional drug use like methadone.

For a specific amount of time (depending on the location), participants are given intensive treatment and other services that are required to get clean and stay sober. Participants are held accountable by the drug court judge to stay clean through random and regular drug testing. Participants go to frequent court appearances so the judge can review their progress and have a face-to-face conversation, and then they are rewarded for doing well or disciplined when not living a healthy life.

There are some unique challenges with drug court.

Not all who have drug addiction qualify to go to drug court. In most cases, if you have a violent conviction, you do not qualify to go to drug court. For those who are ordered to go to rehab by a judge, it is easy to act like you want to get clean in order to have a lesser offense. Some individuals use this as a way to work the system. Until you want to go to rehab yourself, most treatment will not work. If an individual wants to use drugs, he or she will likely keep using drugs like methadone whether in a drug court program or not. The individual likely is using drug court as a way to avoid jail time. Fortunately, with regular drug testing—as well as random drug testing—those who continue to use will likely be found out over time.

This is not to say that the drug court does not help. This system is very important in helping those who need to go into recovery to get the treatment that is needed under the close eye of medical care.

By not getting thrown into general population in prison, these individuals are much more likely to get clean and sober.

If you struggle with drug abuse or any other form of substance abuse like to methadone, please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline. If you would like to know more information about drug court or the treatment process, our counselors are ready to answer any questions you may have. You can get the help you need today. Just pick up the phone, and take the first step in your recovery.