Office of National Drug Control Policy

Drug and Veterans Courts

Drug Courts

Drug courts have operated in the United States for more than 20 years, involving the collaborative efforts of the judiciary, prosecutors, community corrections agencies, drug treatment providers, and other community support groups. Drug courts combine treatment with incentives and escalating sanctions, mandatory and random drug testing, and aftercare, and are a proven solution that reduces substance use, prevents crime, and maximizes limited financial resources. With more than 2,500 drug courts in operation today, approximately 120,000 Americans annually receive the help they need to break the cycle of addiction and recidivism.

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Juvenile Drug Courts

To prevent young people from cycling through the juvenile justice system or entering the adult criminal justice system, drug courts have been expanded to serve the unique needs of juvenile offenders. In order to further expand and improve juvenile drug courts operating throughout the country, the Administration is working with a number of existing courts to implement best practices for adolescent treatment. In addition, several agencies have partnered to support juvenile drug courts in enhancing their capacity through the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referrals to Treatment (SBIRT) program. This program enables the courts to use a short, non-intensive intervention, which helps identify the most appropriate referrals and admissions criteria for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

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Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs)

Based upon the success of drug courts and a pronounced need to address challenges unique to our Nation’s veterans, Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) are being established in jurisdictions across the country. VTCs utilize the same rigorous protocol of treatment and personal accountability to treat veterans suffering from a substance abuse and/or mental health disorder, while helping ensure public safety.

Additional Resources

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals maintains a map of the United States with current locations for adult and juvenile drug courts, as well as Veterans Treatment Courts. View the NADCP map