Quick Guide to Court-Ordered Addiction Treatment

The Recovery VillageAddiction

Going to drug court could be a positive turning point in your life.

You may have seen movies or television shows where people have been ordered to enter addiction treatment programs, or perhaps you know someone who has had that experience. What happens in court-ordered treatment? Is it effective?

What Is Court-Ordered Addiction Treatment?

If you are sentenced to enroll in addiction treatment, this could happen at a drug court. A drug court is a court that helps people find addiction treatment resources so that they can recover and live healthfully. Drug courts combine legal entities such as judges and defense with other entities such as mental health and social services. Drug courts recognize that not everyone who commits a crime is dangerous and that most people need help instead. Additionally, drug courts note that providing people with therapy and other treatments can be a better path to recovery than being incarcerated.

At drug courts, you need to agree that you are guilty of what you have done. The crime is usually a nonviolent one. When you are sentenced in this way, your sentence is reduced or you may not need to go to prison. Instead, you get treated for your substance use disorder.

Why Do Courts Order Treatment?

Courts order treatment because sometimes crime and substance use are connected. For example, a Columbia University study on alcohol misuse and crime showed that, “some of those inmates had been drunk when they broke the law; some had stolen money to buy more alcohol; and others had a history of intoxication, which was a factor when they committed the crime(s) for which they were arrested.”

Courts recognize that drug and alcohol use can be a major factor in crime. Not only do people have poor judgment if they are operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but they can also commit crimes to get money or goods to support an addiction.

The court orders treatment because it is important to invest in people’s well-being and help people become stronger, healthier and less likely to commit crimes under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It also recognizes that many people who commit crimes under the influence would not have done so without substance misuse. Substance misuse is the problem, and the drug court tries to remedy this by ordering addiction treatment.

What Does the Court Require?

There are now thousands of drug courts across the United States. The first court opened in 1989. Drug courts are a popular alternative to regular court. These courts do not always order treatment at a recovery center. Sometimes you may be ordered to learn more about drinking and driving through a DUI school, and sometimes you may need to talk with a victim impact panel, like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, that discusses the impact that actions like yours have had on their lives.

At other times, your sentence will involve going to a recovery center. You may be asked to complete a recovery program successfully and report back on your progress. Since you have to report back and are supervised, these programs are often quite effective.

RELATED: The Dangers of Drugged Driving

Ongoing counseling can help you maintain sobriety.

Going to Addiction Treatment

What will you experience when you enroll in a program at a treatment center?

At a center that offers medically assisted detox, you will have medical support to transition off of substances. This kind of assisted detox will help you with the physical and psychological impacts of withdrawal. This can be very helpful and often medically necessary, depending on what substances you are currently using.

At most rehab centers, you can engage in intensive treatment. Treatment involves a whole team of people and many types of treatment, including counseling, group therapy and other therapies such as art or recreation therapy. These treatments will help give you the psychological tools to manage your drug cravings and will also help you find a supportive community and direct your energy to new, positive activities. For example, you might start running, or discover that art helps you focus and enjoy life.

A treatment program may also assess you for any co-occurring mental health conditions. Challenges with your mental health can make it harder to manage your physical health and a substance use disorder. For example, you could have an untreated anxiety disorder or depression. Treating mental health conditions makes it easier to recover in the short- and long-term.

Aftercare is an important part of maintaining your recovery in the long-term. For example, some centers also have sober housing to help you start your life again in a supportive living situation. You might also benefit from ongoing counseling or other support to help you maintain the tools that you need to remain sober.

Is Court-Ordered Treatment Effective?

Often, people do not want to go to treatment and resist friends and family members who ask them to get help. However, sometimes the shock of being caught in a crime and then being sentenced can increase a person’s desire to complete treatment programs.

If you are not very interested in completing treatment, this can make it harder to recover. Some treatment centers address this as part of their therapy, seeking to motivate the people involved. These sessions could include:

  • Thinking about an alternative focus in your life
  • Developing skills to manage and cope with risk
  • Creating strategies to support you as you stop misusing substances
  • Considering and setting out goals

Many people who are motivated to go through recovery do experience setbacks. It is important that they continue with aftercare and counseling, even when the mandated treatment is done. This allows people to have the best opportunity to have a substance-free life.

At The Recovery Village Columbus, we believe that you can work through substance misuse. We are here to support you in your efforts. Contact The Recovery Village Columbus today to discuss possibilities for addiction treatment.