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How do drug courts work?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2024 | Criminal Defense

The California Governor’s Office reported almost 7,000 deaths from drug overdoses in 2022. In an attempt to help reduce drug dependency and abuse in the state, officials created drug courts.

Drug courts address substance abuse issues and promote rehabilitation rather than punishment. They act as an alternative to traditional criminal justice proceedings. They also seek to break the cycle of addiction and criminal behavior by offering a structured and supportive environment.

Eligibility determination

Individuals facing non-violent drug-related offenses undergo a thorough assessment to determine their eligibility for drug court. Eligibility does require a willingness to participate in the program voluntarily. The focus is on individuals who could benefit more from treatment and intervention than incarceration.

Multi-phase process

Participants will attend court regularly throughout the program. They also will be under monitoring the whole time. The court closely collaborates with other professionals to provide the treatment and other care the individual needs to overcome addiction.

Advancement through the program’s phases is contingent on participants meeting specific milestones. These may include successful completion of treatment goals, adherence to court orders and sustained sobriety.

Completion of the drug court program often results in reduced or dismissed charges. It provides participants with an opportunity for a fresh start. The goal is to break the cycle of addiction and reduce recidivism.

Rules and regulations

Participants must adhere to a strict set of rules and regulations throughout the program. Regular drug testing is common. They may also have to attend counseling. Additional requirements depend on the specific needs of that individual. Accountability is a key aspect of the program. It reinforces the importance of personal responsibility in overcoming substance abuse issues.

California drug courts incorporate a therapeutic approach that emphasizes rehabilitation and fosters a supportive environment. They contribute to a more compassionate and effective approach to addressing substance abuse within the criminal justice system.


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