Drug Court Explained


What is Drug Court?

As an alternative way to deal with drug-related criminal charges, drug courts are judicially supervised court dockets, handling the cases of nonviolent substance abusing offenders under the adult, juvenile, family and tribal justice systems. These courts operate under a special problem-solving court model in which the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health, social service, and treatment communities work together with persons who are being charged with felony drug offenses and give them the opportunity to participate in treatment as an alternative to jail time.

For a list of Washington State Adult and Youth Drug Courts please go the and type “drug court” in the search field at the top of the page.

What are Drug Courts? National Association of Drug Court Professionals and the National Drug Court Institute.

Council of State Drug Court Associations: The Council of State Drug Courts of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals was launched in 1997 as a vehicle to empower, support and nurture leadership at the state and local levels.Comprised of two representatives from each state association, including one criminal justice professional and one treatment professional, the congress advocates for state and federal resources and funding and helps NADCP establish national policy.

Drugs: How they affect the body and the brain: Our section on illegal drugs, inhalants, alcohol and nicotine.

Drug Court Technology Resource Center. The Resource Center is an online forum offering tools and information for drug court practitioners who are creating computer applications for their courts. The Resource Center sponsors two related web sites: "Drug Court Technology" and "Drug court MIS."

Juvenile and Family Drug Courts: Situations that are bringing many juveniles and parents under the court's jurisdiction are often closely linked with substance abuse and with complicated, and often multigenerational, family and personal problems. This report was prepared by the Office of Justice Programs Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project at the American University, Washington, DC.

National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) was established in 1994 as the premier national membership and advocacy organization for drug courts. Representing over 25,000 drug court professionals and community leaders, NADCP provides a strong and unified voice to our nation’s leadership. By impacting policy and legislation, NADCP creates a vision of a reformed criminal justice system. NADCP’s mission is to reduce substance abuse, crime, and recidivism by promoting and advocating for the establishment and funding of drug courts and providing for the collection and dissemination of information, technical assistance, and mutual support to association members.

The National Drug Strategy Network is working for effective approaches to address the world's many drug problems by sharing accurate information about drug control strategies.

Proposition 36 California’s groundbreaking initiative, the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act - was passed by 61% of California voters in November 2000. The California State Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that this initiative will divert approximately 37,000 low-level, non-violent drug possession offenders from incarceration into treatment at an approximate savings of $1.5 billion over 5 years to California taxpayers.

Washington State RCW 70.96A.350 Criminal justice treatment account. (1) The criminal justice treatment account is created in the state treasury. Moneys in the account may be expended solely for: (a) Substance abuse treatment and treatment support services for offenders with an addiction or a substance abuse problem that, if not treated, would result in addiction, against whom charges are filed by a prosecuting attorney in Washington state; and (b) the provision of drug and alcohol treatment services and treatment support services for nonviolent offenders within a drug court program.

To reach the Washington State Association of Drug Court Professionals, contact:

c/o Terree Schmidt-Whelan, PhD.
Executive Director
Pierce County Alliance
510 Tacoma Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98402
Phone: (253) 572-4750
FAX: (253) 272-6666


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