Are Drug Courts Effective?

From 1 to 3,133 in 26 years

The first drug court was established in Miami-Dade County, Florida in 1989.  The idea was to provide an alternative to jail time for drug users and to save costs by keeping offenders in the community, under treatment, and engaged in recovery.

By 2015, there were over 3,000 drug courts operating in every state and territory across the U.S. Today, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals provides a website,, making it easy to find the nearest drug court in your community.

The success rate is impressive.  According to a Department of Justice study, 84% of drug court graduates have no further run-ins with the law in their first year after drug court, and over 72% remain clear of trouble after two years.

The Pros of Drug Courts

No program related to drug use and drug related offenses can be without controversy.  Some of the basic perceptions, both for and against drug courts, include:

  • Cost-effective, saving more than $2 in criminal justice expenses for every $1 spent.
  • Holds drug offenders accountable for treatment in rehabilitative programs.
  • Provides for ongoing, mandatory drug testing.

A Comprehensive Guide to Drug Courts is available on the Addiction Resource website.

Drug Screening at Drug Court

To be effective, drug courts rely on fast, reliable screening, the affordability of which helps keep costs in line.  At DTPM, Drug Testing Program Management, we have the experience to improve drug court testing or set up a drug court lab from scratch.  From equipment selection and validation to policies and procedures, DTPM provides expert consultation as well as needed equipment and supplies.

DTPM’s mission is to help fight drug dependency by helping you establish and maintain industry-leading drug testing and confirmation services.