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Are Drug Courts an Effective Way of Dealing with Drug Abuse?


It was 40 years after the war that the use of substance had embarked in different parts of the world had triggered a higher rate of drug consumption. Most Americans, as well as Australians, believe that the major cause of health issues is the high consumption of drugs (Wilson, 2006). This is the reason why various States have passed their legislation which requires the Private Health insurance as well as the public to cover the treatment of Mental Health and drug on par. various acts have been formulated for this issue like the Addiction Equity Act of 2008, and the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Fischer, 2003). These Acts promise the treatment of drugs to be more accessible within the mainstream of the system of healthcare.

The fact is undeniable that the policies remain dominated through a cognitive approach regarding the use of the drug and the punishment is inherent conflicts with the help center approach. There are various drug courts in which date right to reduce the consumption and usage of drugs with the help of mandated treatment along with close judicial oversight. The fact cannot be completely overruled that the drug courts have helped the people suffering from higher drug consumption to change their lives, but still, the success stories are limited. Many participants had experienced dramatic life-changing situations with the help of the drug courts. The criminal justice system indeed has a different effect upon the people who consume drugs and the study suggests that people are threatened to use the drugs based on the imposition of sanctions (Wilson, 2006).

Even if not many people but the drug courts have helped at least some people to reduce the participants. It must be noticed that the outcomes considered by the drug courts are largely in the context of potential policy options. the essay will not only focus upon whether the drug courts have done any good to people, they have undoubtedly done some good to at least some people but the question is whether the entire glorification revolving around the drug courts is sufficient enough to formulate better policy or better treatment when compared with other available approaches regarding treating the consumption of drugs.

Most of the drug courts are working over the incarceration model, which day usually seeks to improve. It must be noted that there are other alternatives available for drug possession which are also essential but it is important that better alternatives must be adopted and a stricter deterrence must be provided for the violations of drug law. To better understand the role of drug courts regarding the problem of the usage of drugs, the research done by the drug policy alliance can be relied upon as it had also addressed the two major questions. The questions revolve around the impact of drug courts upon the problem that they were created to the petty drug arrest which was created to over when the courts and fill jails in the year 1980 (Amato, 2005).

Another question that was addressed by the drug policy alliance was to compare the drug courts with other approaches of policies that are working to reduce the drug arrest as well as the cost and problem of drug use. It must be noted that many people end up in the court on the grounds of very petty drug law violations and this is inclusive of the use of marijuana. This is the reason why drug courts do not typically divert more people into lengthy prison terms. On the other hand the use the widespread means of incarceration. The problem is that the drug codes mainly focus on the low level of pencils and even if there are any positive results for a particular person who is a participant, very little public safety is provided to him.

Some incidents are enough to prove that the drug courts leave a large number of people even worse off for trying drugs. The success stories of the drug courts deserve to be celebrated but the fact that they also leave several people in a worse condition which they would have otherwise not suffered if the treatment was made to them outside the criminal justice system. The story of success represents only a handful of people who have been a part of drug courts where only a tiny fraction of people were arrested and deterred.

The reporting completion of the drug courts range from 30 % to 70% and the number of participants affected by the negative implications and a longer period of stay is significant in number (Denise, 2002). Even though on the face of it the drug courts have adopted a model of addiction but had continued to finalize the people arrested from the same through in ration and had ultimately ejected from the program. The drug courts work in a completely different manner than that of various Health center programs. The people who have a better chance of succeeding in the proceedings of the drug courts are those who do not have any problem of the drug when compared to those who are struggling with their compulsive usage of the drug and this section of people are end up being incarcerated by the drug courts.

The treatment options available to the people who are under arrest by the drug courts are usually suffering from disadvantages due to lack of adequate treatment. The drug course does not have an adequate and trained staff that is capable enough to make adequate treatment and decisions with limited availability of resources and quality. These are the findings made by the drug policy alliance and had recommended that the countries must come up with better drug policies who worked upon the public health principles (Herbert, 2008). The records must be reserved only for the offenses committed by the people against the person or property which are associated with the disorder caused due to the usage of the drug.

While on the other hand the practices of the drug codes must be improved and various other options must be provided to the people who are convicted under the violations of drug law. It is important to work to remove the unnecessary criminal penalties for the usage of drugs to address the mass problem of the arrests made under drug and incarceration (Faith, 2007). The practices under the drug courts are not cost-effective or cost-saving so it is important to bolster the public health system which will include the reduction of harm and more effective approaches to address the problem of the usage of the drug (Fischer, 2003).

The practices under the drug courts have not reduced the participants as there are very scarce resources that are being used by the drug courts to treat or supervise the people who are charged under more severe offenses due to the consumption of drugs. Nearly 6 out of 10 people in these state prisons have convicted the people who are arrested due to a petty issue of violation of drug law and had not to face any history of violence or any high level of crime under any category (Faith, 2007). The people who were mostly arrested are those who have violated the rules and had consumed marijuana.

In most of the cases, the drug courts are being applied as an application for the therapeutic jurisprudence under which the judges of the court do not ask as to whether the court has proven the ultimate crime of the individual but on the other hand focus upon whether the court can help the person. This is the disease model that is adopted by most of the drug courts (Ambros, 2005). The traditional functions can easily be seen under the US justice system where the judges have their arbitrary decision of treatment as well as punishment for the people who have not committed any serious offense. Various countries including the United States have abnormally severe drug laws and the annual drug arrest had tripled with more than 1.8 million in the year 2007 and this figure is likely to increase (Ambros, 2005).

Many countries lock up thousands of people on an annual basis for violations of drug laws. It is an awful state of affairs that the incarceration for the position or petty consumption of drugs is usually from the grave sentencing of many countries. It must be noted that the criminal justice system of various countries has created restrictions and limitations to the freedom of people committing a very low level of drug violations. The other major issue that can be identified here is that there is a limitation regarding the capacity of the drug courts which restricts the people who voluntarily came up to treat themselves without any criminal justice mandate (David, 2006). These are those people who may not effort the private healthcare facilities and relies upon the drug courts to help them for their rehabilitation but it seems that the drug courts have distracted their entire attention from the real and systematic issues.

The policies are absent that determines the flow of people into the criminal justice system regarding the consumption of drug due to petty violation of drug law. The problem does not remain here only there are various drug law enforcement and practices that our profound and creates a disparate impact upon the people from different communities of color. In the year 2003 e there were many African Americans who were arrested because of the violations of drug law and it must be noticed that this rate is 238 percent higher than that of the whites who are being arrested for drug law violations (David, 2006).

For this, the stigmatization plays an important role in the mass arrest incarceration of people of color. In the present era, 1 out of 15 American African children is being subjected to you have their parents in the prison when it is compared to 1 in 111 whites. The racial disparities in the criminal justice system are widely evident (Rachel, 2008). The increase in drug arrest has been documented under various pieces of literature that prove that it is the African American people who are 30% more likely to be subjected to incarceration by the drug courts (Rachel, 2008).

The California society of addiction medicine had shown in their study that the incarceration sanctions usually improve the usage of the drug and there is whatsoever no benefit in the reduction of the rearrests of the people who are earlier subjected to the participation of the drug courts (Hser, 2007). It is a proven study that the drug courts are not able to provide wide access to options and opportunities to the people who are subjected to arise due to the violations of drug law higher rates of drug consumption. The drug courts in itself are adequate to access the needs of the people and usually place them upon an inappropriate treatment.


Therefore it can be concluded that it is high time that the countries must read the thing about their drug policies which is inclusive of the drug courts. The history is evident in proving that the drug codes are not a cost-effective way to achieve the best results for the people suffering from drug consumption. Other available options must also be approached to treat the people who have not committed any serious offense associated with the consumption of the drug to prevent the injustice enshrined upon them. The fact is undeniable that the drug courts have saved many lives and had benefited people but this number is very restricted and a better model and approach must be used to defend the people who unnecessarily serve a longer period in the drug courts. Overcrowding participants in the courts have also become a problem for the judges to effectively manage the cases of each participant. The lack of trained staff and the use of the shotgun approach turn out to be incompatible to help people for their consumption of the substance at large.


Ambros, U. (2005). On coercion, International Journal of Drug Policy 16 (5), 207-209

Amato, L. (2005). An overview of systematic reviews of the effectiveness of opiate maintenance therapies: available evidence to inform clinical practice and research, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2(8), 321-330.

David, S. (2006). Secondary prevention services for clients who are low risk in drug court: a conceptual model, Crime and Delinquency 52(1), 114-134

Denise, C. (2002). The Baltimore city drug treatment courts: one-year results from a randomized study, Journal of Research on Crime and Delinquency 3(9), 337-356

Faith, E. (2007). The Nexus between drug and alcohol treatment program integrity and drug court effectiveness: policy recommendations for pursuing success, Criminal Justice Policy Review, 18(3), 226-245.

Fischer, B. (2003). Doing good with a vengeance: a critical assessment of the practices, effects and implications of drug treatment courts in north America, Criminal Justice, 3(3), 227-248.

Hser, Y. (2007). Impact of California’s Proposition 36 on the drug treatment system: treatment capacity and displacement, American Journal of Public Health, 7(1), 104-109.

Herbert, D. (2008). Methadone maintenance four decades later: thousands of lives saved but still controversial, Journal of the American Medical Association 3(1), 2303-2305

Rachel, C. (2008). Painting the current picture: a national report card on drug courts and other problem-solving court programs in the United States. National Drug Court Institute 2(1), 56-66

Wilson, D. (2006). A systematic review of drug court effects on recidivism, Journal of Experimental Criminology, 2, 459-487.

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