Are Drug Courts and Drug Classes the Answer?

by: Mike Miller

The latest rehabilitation effort for first-time drug and alcohol offenders are drug classes and drug courts. While many have questioned their effectiveness, the proof is out there – drug classes work!

For those of you unfamiliar with the system, drug court is a rehabilitation program of sorts. The program is an alternative to serving jail time for drug sentences. Typically, the offenders would serve as many as 12 years, but instead they serve a year to 18 months.

One of the youngest to complete the program was Sean Riley, 20, who already had five counts on his rap sheet before drug court.

Believe it or not, his five counts are fairly low compared to other graduates. The average number of drug-related arrests for the 100 graduates is 20 prior to entering drug court, with some as high as 40.

Drug court is about making people face the consequences of their actions. Sometimes going to jail and usurping more public resources is not the right answer. Drug courts combined with drug classes and counseling is yet another attempt to look outside the box to solve one of the biggest problems facing America today.

It seeks to address the problem that got them in trouble with the criminal justice system to begin with while still requiring them to live up to their responsibilities as a citizen.

To complete drug court, the focus becomes beating drug or alcohol addiction. The program is difficult with an attrition rate between 40 and 80%.

However, the reward for completing the program is grand. Once they complete the program, whatever charge landed them in drug court is dismissed from their record.

The program is paid through client fees from the people taking the class and from drug money seized by the state in drug cases. The goal in fighting the addiction behind the arrests is that the program in the long run will equal fewer prisoners and save taxpayer dollars.

This appears to be one of the few bright spots in our “war on drugs.” We need to continue to try and fight the addiction. If you kick the addiction, you find a healthy, productive member of society.