This Guide has been prepared for judges newly assigned to preside over a drug court program to serve as a quick primer to assist them in (a) becoming familiar with the key elements and evidence-based practices that should be reflected in the treatment services provided to drug court participants, and (b) working with local treatment provider(s) to ensure that these services are provided. The Guide is intended to serve as an introductory reference, addressing treatment related issues and practices that are critical to effective drug court program operations but too frequently not reflected in their design or services, as evidenced by numerous site visits to local drug courts conducted by the BJA Drug Court Technical Assistance Project at American University. Many of these visits have been to rural areas where treatment resources are often limited and we have therefore devoted a special chapter (See Chapter VII) to challenges rural drug courts are encountering and solutions that have been effective. Some of the challenges rural drug courts encounter may also have relevance to large, sprawling urban areas where efficient public transportation is limited and judges must cover multiple court locations.
The Guide is designed to be used in conjunction with nationally recognized drug court treatment resources, including: NDCI’s Evidence-based Practices; NIDA’s Principles of Substance Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations, the extensive additional resources available through NIDA and SAMHSA, and the BJA/NIJ Research to Practice resources.