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What is Drug Court and Will it Pay for Rehab?

This entry was posted in Addiction Recovery, Drug Abuse, Drug Court, Drug Rehab and tagged how does drug court work, what is drug court, will drug court pay for rehab on February 01, 2022 by Justin Baksh, MS, LMHC, MCAP, Chief Clinical Officer.


Jammed court dockets. Long waiting lists for addiction treatment centers. Ballooning drug crime prisoner populations and people of all ages and backgrounds addicted. We are not talking about 2021, or even 2020. This was the scene in the 1980s and 1990s, when the drug of choice for many was crack cocaine rather than the opioids of today. However, the impact of drugs on society remains the same.

If there is one thing we have learned since that time, it is that incarceration and lengthy mandatory minimum sentences are not the way to solve America’s drug problem. If they were, we would have been in the clear before the ball dropped on the last seconds of 1999. Instead of winning the War on Drugs, the use, availability, and price of drugs increased (along with their deadliness).

Thankfully, the focus shifted to another, more fruitful direction, with the implementation of community programs and new initiatives designed to hit the problem of drug use and addiction at its root. Drug court is one of those programs.

What is Drug Court?

Legal,Law,Concept,Image,,Abstract,Close,Up,Detail,Of,Scales next to breastplate of lady justice, what is drug court and will it pay for my treatment

As the name implies, drug court is exclusively for people suffering from substance use disorders who have a qualifying drug offense. Usually. only non-violent felony and misdemeanor cases are seen in drug court. Drug courts may also only accept first-time offenders into the program.

Individuals who participate in these court programs are given the option to enter drug treatment under court supervision instead of receiving a jail sentence. In some cases, after successful graduation from the drug court program, charges are dismissed.

[Drug] court is based on the premisethat addiction is a disease that promotes criminal behavior; it is therefore highly treatment-oriented and supportive of clients’ recovery efforts.. Defendants are neither prosecuted nor punished for their substance use problems. Instead, the court provides or brokers drug treatment and other services that help them achieve sobriety and stability in their lives (Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit, 2007).(Lurigio, 2008)

Drug court is an advanced and efficient solution to addressing substance abuse within the criminal justice system.

How Does Drug Court Work?

Nearly all drug courts operate on a post-adjudication model. Defendants who meet the eligibility requirements plead guilty to their charges and have their sentences deferred or suspended in exchange for their participation in the drug court program. After completion of drug court, the defendant’s sentence can be suspended, deferred, modified, or expunged. Csete & Tomasini-Joshi, 2015)

An estimated seven percent of drug courts offer a pre-adjudication model where defendants enter drug court before charges are made. Before entering a plea to a charge, defendants who meet the eligibility requirements are channeled from formal court proceedings and placed in drug court. This is also referred to as “pre-trial release” or “deferred prosecution.”

Empty Courtroom seats, what is drug court and will it pay for my treatment, Foundations Wellness Center

As you can see, there is no universal model for drug court programs. Although they may take different forms, they typically have common elements, including:

(Lurigio, 2008) 

Participants in this intensive program are expected to maintain their recovery, take on responsibilities, and make positive lifestyle changes. Their progress is closely monitored by the court. In the end, drug court helps reduce crime and brings about genuine, positive change in people’s lives.

Drug testing and evaluations are also common elements of drug court programs.

Court-Ordered Drug Test Procedure

If you’ve been ordered to submit to drug testing for legal purposes, it’s critical to understand what constitutes an acceptable drug screening test.

You are unable to use home tests or mail-in services for lawful purposes due to the numerous issues associated with the possibility of contamination or variation of samples and test results.

Instead, you must select a reputable laboratory that will properly administer your test in a neutral environment. As a result of the knowledge and skill of professional technicians in the collection and handling of samples and the conduct of the testing process, the results are accepted as admissible evidence in legal proceedings.

According to the law, a judge determines that a request for drug testing is valid. The testing process must be conducted under federal policy and in the least invasive manner possible.

Court-Ordered Drug and Alcohol Evaluation

Drug and alcohol evaluations are in-depth investigations into the extent of a person’s substance abuse. They are used to diagnose substance use disorder – and even underlying conditions such as anxiety and depression – as well as to make treatment recommendations.

When conducting these evaluations, qualified professionals look into the type of substance being abused, the dosage, and the frequency of use to create a narrative of a subject’s drug-using history. These evaluations provide a complete picture of a substance abuser’s circumstances and the extent of their substance abuse. It can also serve as a guide for those in charge of providing the best possible solution.

Drug Court Pay for Rehab

Will Drug Court Pay for Rehab?

The court will never be forced to pay for an addict’s rehab. Usually, the offender pays the rehab center, using health insurance benefits, if available, to help cover the cost.

The defendant also has permission to choose the treatment center. One of those considerations, obviously, would be the cost. This means the defendant should be aware of this when talking with possible treatment centers, as treatment fees vary widely. Some centers offer a sliding scale or allow clients to pay over time if treatment is financially out of reach.

Depending on a drug court’s efforts or community partnerships, there may be access to grants or to low-cost and/or non-profit treatment for offenders. These options, though, are the exception rather than the rule.

Drug Court is for the Offender’s Benefit

Court-ordered treatment, whether online or in-person, is frequently effective in making a loved one aware of the consequences of their abuse. In this case, most people will commit to their court-ordered treatment programs.

Upon successfully completion of drug court, many seek to continue their journey to lifelong sobriety by continuing treatment in an outpatient setting, going to 12-step meetings, and living in a sober home. The recovering person’s commitment and desire for a new life is what determines their success.

Court-ordered rehab can be the force that finally helps the addict understand the full implications of their addiction. For many, drug court has been a lifesaver. Successful graduates can go on to a life free from drugs… and legal issues of the past.

RELATED: Arrested? Addicted to drugs? Look for drug court
Court-ordered drug and alcohol assessments and treatment in Port St. Lucie, Florida
How to get a drug addict into treatment


Csete, J., & Tomasini-Joshi, D. (2015). Drug courts: Equivocal evidence on a popular intervention. Open Society Foundations. Retrieved February 1, 2022, from

Lurigio, A. J. (2008, June). The First 20 Years of Drug Treatment Courts: A Brief Description of Their History and Impact. US Courts. Retrieved February 1, 2022, from

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