Drug courts can help people when they need it most

Drug charges are significant enough that people who have convictions may struggle to find work or get their lives back on track. As a result, many who go to jail or who serve sentences find it's difficult to go back to a normal lifestyle. That problem leads to further drug use, crime and penalties.

The good news is that the court system is starting to understand what people deal with as drug users or as those with drug-related convictions. Alternative penalties through the drug courts are of a huge benefit to these individuals.

How do drug courts help?

Drug courts help nonviolent offenders, in most cases, go through substance abuse treatment and work through programs that can help them break free of addiction and walk away better able to support themselves and those in their community. The goal of these programs is to reduce the risk of reoffending by providing services to treat the underlying issue: drug addiction.

Drug courts significantly reduce recidivism by helping the people who committed criminal acts. Many people who end up in court for drug-related charges do want to obtain help for addiction but do not have the means to obtain it. Drug courts change that, making it possible to get drug- or alcohol-addiction treatment. Instead of serving time in jail or prison or going through probation, people in drug court programs may be placed in supervised treatment plans. In some cases, completing the program will result in the elimination of charges, preventing the individual from having a criminal record that could negatively affect them.

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