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Find Court-Ordered Drug Rehab Centers Based On Your Needs

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

January 30, 2019

Court-ordered rehab is a treatment program that may be offered to individuals in place of a jail sentence. This type of treatment is part of the larger system of drug courts which strive to help addicted individuals overcome addiction and dependence issues, improve behaviors, and integrate back into society.

Drug courts may provide programs to help eligible individuals:

  • Complete treatment in rehab
  • Work with a specialized drug court judge to fulfill obligations
  • Undergo randomized and regular drug testing
  • Complete court appearances
  • Receive rewards for improvements and reprimand for unfulfilled obligations

What Is Court-Ordered Rehab?

Court-ordered rehab is part of an alternative sentence for a drug-related crime. Because of the nature of addiction, many drug-related crimes are committed, at least in part, due to the effects of substances. When people abuse drugs or alcohol they may be more likely to commit crimes.

Drug courts recognize that people committing such minor crimes may benefit more from drug and alcohol rehab than from jail or prison sentences. Many people who commit minor offenses related to drug crimes do it because they’re under the influence of substances, are experiencing uncontrollable urges to seek the drugs and believe committing the crime may result in obtaining them, and have impaired judgment due to the nature of addiction.

Addiction produces cravings for the drug of abuse. When you fall victim to it, your life becomes a cycle of maintaining that addiction. Dependence, which often goes with addiction, can cause uncomfortable or even unbearable withdrawal symptoms which keep people going back to substance abuse over and again.

With court-ordered rehab, people have the chance not only to attend rehab, but to rebuild their lives. Treatment in drug and alcohol court-ordered rehab helps people heal from addiction and dependence issues, learn coping skills, build life skills, and learn to manage addiction long-term in order to prevent relapse.

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What Are Drug Courts?

The National Association Of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) explains, “Drug Courts keep individuals in treatment long enough for it to work, while supervising them closely.” Drug courts are run by an array of professionals to ensure the success of individuals both in treatment and in fulfilling legal and societal obligations deemed necessary by the court.

Some of the legal and professional members who operate and instill the principles of drug courts include community corrections, defense attorneys, prosecutors, specialized judges, social workers, and treatment service personnel.

The NADCP reports that, “drug courts are the most effective justice intervention for treating drug-addicted people.” People who participate in the drug court system may experience a number of successful outcomes, including:

  • Stopping or reducing drug abuse
  • Stopping or reducing crime
  • Improved finances
  • Leading or building a more fulfilled life
  • Improved life for children and family

There are more than 3,000 drug courts in the United States as of 2015, according to the National Institute Of Justice (NIJ), most of which target adults. A smaller number of these drug courts work with juveniles and in child welfare interest cases.

Drug courts may be incorporated as part of a criminal sentence during a probationary period, or in lieu of criminal sentencing. For those who first serve a prison sentence, drug courts may help them reintegrate back into society with goals of reduced criminal activity and reduced drug use, among others.

For those who receive drug court instead of jail or prison time, the goal is to reverse the damage caused by addiction in order to not end up facing another sentence. In either case, court-ordered rehab is often part of the drug court program.

Addiction recovery is key to managing addiction, stopping substance abuse, and teaching individuals the skills, coping mechanisms, and stress management techniques necessary for preventing relapse and further substance abuse.

Millions of people cope with addiction or substance abuse issues, yet few ever receive treatment. Court-ordered rehab is one way to ensure addicted individuals get the treatment they need.

Can Court-Ordered Rehab Replace Jail Time?

Some people can receive court-ordered rehab instead of jail time. However, you have to meet the eligibility requirements. You may qualify for court-ordered rehab through drug court if:

  • You committed a nonviolent crime
  • You committed the crime, directly or indirectly, due to drug addiction or dependence
  • You already qualify for probation
  • The court is convinced you would benefit from treatment

Along with these qualifications, to be considered eligible for court-ordered rehab, a person must have been addicted to or dependent on some substance at the time the crime was committed.

To get court-ordered rehab, you don’t have to participate in drug courts. If you do participate in drug courts, though, you have to meet the above requirements, as well as plead guilty to the crime for which you were charged, and be willing to complete the rehab program.

Court-ordered rehab is a sentence of no less than 12 to 24 months and requires complete abstinence from drug use, regular check-ins with court officials, randomized and regular drug testing, complete dedication to addiction recovery, and often community service.

How Do Court-Ordered Rehabs Work With Drug Courts?

Court-ordered rehab is only one facet of drug courts. The NIJ explains, “although drug courts vary in a target population, program design, and service resources, they are generally based on a comprehensive model.”

This model, known as the Drug Court Model, includes drug screening and assessments, judicial interaction, monitoring and supervision, sanctions for unfulfilled duties and reward incentives, and treatment and rehabilitation as needed.

Before, during, or after drug rehab, participants may have to comply with court proceedings, complete education and training (for example, parenting classes or participate in Alcoholics Anonymous), report to a social worker or probation officer, and more.

Court-ordered rehab is one component of drug courts, both of which aim for the same goal: to help individuals struggling with addiction or dependence overcome those issues and build a more fulfilling lifestyle.

Who Pays For Court-Ordered Rehab?

To get court-ordered rehab, as the name implies, you have to be sentenced to it by the court. Yet each individual granted participation in these programs instead of sentencing is responsible for paying his or her own treatment fees and costs.

If you already have health insurance, the process may be easier. Most rehab centers will comply with your insurance provider and with the guidelines of your court-ordered program. Even without insurance, there may be other options.

Many drug and alcohol rehab centers will work with you on setting up a payment plan that works for you. Whether you’re covering co-payments or the entirety of your stay, rehab centers will often use a sliding fee scale or a payment plan. Cost of rehab should never be a factor that keeps you from getting the treatment you deserve.

Other Court-Ordered Drug Intervention Programs

Some drug courts may provide Drug Intervention Programs either in place of a jail sentence, in addition to it, or in addition to court-ordered rehab.

The following are some drug intervention programs which exist with the goal of helping individuals maintain sobriety, overcome and manage addiction and dependence issues, and reintegrate into society:

Accelerated Pretrial Rehabilitation Program

Accelerated Pretrial Rehabilitation Program—this program is available for people who have been charged with nonviolent crimes or motor vehicle violations which are not serious but may result in a sentence. The program may not be used by people who have committed certain felonies, participated in programs similar to this one in the past, or who have been convicted of other crimes in the past.

Alcohol Education Program

Alcohol Education Program—this program is available to people who have been charged with a motor vehicle or boat moving violation while under the influence. Participants will complete a 10- or 15-week alcohol education course or participate in a court-ordered rehab program.

Substance Abuse Education And Community Service Programs

Substance Abuse Education And Community Service Programs—this program is available to people who have been charged with possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia. However, people who have participated in this program at least twice or in other community service programs may not be eligible for it.

Does Court-Ordered Rehab Really Work?

The debate surrounding court-ordered rehab is one of doubt: can treatment work if it’s ordered by the court? Yes, treatment can work for people who are ordered to it by the court, especially when people receive the help they need instead of jail or prison sentencing.

In fact, treatment may be more effective this way. The National Center For Policy Analysis reports, “Professors at the University of Pennsylvania found that drug courts had a compliance rate six times higher than any other current method of treating criminals with drug addictions.”

Participating in court-ordered rehab is more effective than other methods at reducing recidivism (relapse), drug use, and unemployment. Further, people in court-ordered rehab who have children are more likely to successfully complete the program and experience great recovery outcomes.

Court-ordered rehab works because addicted individuals are motivated by receiving the chance to redeem themselves, to avoid a criminal sentencing, and to get their lives back.

Understand Your Options And Find Treatment Today

If you’re struggling with addiction or dependence issues, and may be facing charges for a drug-related crime, you may have more options than you know. We’d like to help you understand your options, and find the treatment you need to get your life on track.

Talk to one of our treatment specialists today to learn more about court-ordered rehab, drug courts, and treatment options. Your call will be personal and confidential.

National Institute Of Justice - Drug Courts

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