This report by Physicians for Human Rights that focuses on the provision of treatment through Drug Courts in three US states. The report finds that Drug Courts in these states largely failed at providing treatment to those who truly needed it, and filled up limited treatment spaces with court-mandated patients who didn’t always need the care.
As many of you know, there are more than 3,100 Drug Courts operating in the US and its foreign policy includes an aggressive push to disseminate their use around the world. The theory behind the courts is that they reduce recidivism for people with substance use disorders, that they connect people to services, and that they reduce the use of incarceration. This report, assess the availability and quality of substance use disorder treatment through Drug Courts in Florida, New Hampshire, and New York and found major obstacles in all three states. In many cases, court officials with no medical background mandated inappropriate treatment not rooted in the evidence base, or mandated treatment for people who didn’t need it. In all cases, the functioning and mandate of the Drug Courts posed significant human rights concerns.
The report ends with important policy recommendations that will help get Drug Courts closer to meeting their promises. Please feel free to share this report freely with decision-makers. I believe it’s an important contribution to information about a model that has been used, and spread, without sufficient oversight or accountability.