The Drug Court Team


In Drug Court, Judges, Prosecutors, Defense Attorneys, Case Managers, Law Enforcement, Probation & Parole Officers, CPS Case Workes, and Treatment Providers review every individual case and work together.

The Drug Court Judge


Drug Court participants appear regularly before a specially trained judge who oversees their case.


Research Proves Drug Courts following

The 10 Key Components

are most effective.

The 10 Key Components

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10 Key Components.


How Drug Courts Work

Eligible drug-addicted persons may be sent to Drug Court in lieu of traditional justice system case processing. Drug Courts keep individuals in treatment long enough for it to work, while supervising them closely. For a minimum term of one year, participants are:

  • provided with intensive treatment and other services they require to get and stay clean and sober;
  • held accountable by the Drug Court judge for meeting their obligations to the court, society, themselves and their families;
  • regularly and randomly tested for drug use;
  • required to appear in court frequently so that the judge may review their progress; and
  • rewarded for doing well or sanctioned when they do not live up to their obligations.

Who is Eligible

Eligibility for Drug Court varies according to state and local guidelines, and on the type of Drug Court model (For example, currently most Drug Courts in the nation are adult criminal Drug Courts, which, along with DWI Courts, function within the adult criminal justice system and target adult offenders. Family Drug Court participants, however, are parents facing child abuse/neglect charges in civil court. For more information, see Drug Court Models).

Some state legislatures or regulatory bodies have created eligibility guidelines for Drug Courts. Although eligibility guidelines vary, most Drug Courts do not consider violent offenders. Adult criminal Drug Courts usually consider both drug and drug-driven offenses. And where offenses involve victims, the consent of the victim and payment of restitution is typically mandatory. If you wish to find more information on a specific court’s eligibility guidelines, see the National Drug Court Map for contact information on the court.


What Drug Courts Do

Drug Courts are the most effective justice intervention for treating drug-addicted people. Drug Courts reduce drug use. Drug Courts reduce crime. Drug Courts save money. Drug Courts restore lives. Drug Courts save children and reunite families.

What Drug Courts Need

Drug Courts serve a fraction of the estimated 1.2 million drug-addicted people currently involved in the justice system. To truly break the cycle of drugs and crime in America, we must put a Drug Court within reach of every American in need.


NADCP COO Terrence Walton discusses how treatment courts became the foundation for justice reform
New Hampshire Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau offers a powerfull TED Talk on Drug Courts
Drug courts can be a good strategy for treating the U.S.’s twin epidemics of substance abuse and mass incarceration. But they need to be used more often, and more carefully.
But this is the way it should be: routing people away from prison as opposed to sending people whose criminality is treatable behind bars.