Understanding Ohio Drug Courts

The Recovery VillageDrug Rehab

Jail bars made up of pills and human hands holding on.

Nearly half of the prisoners executed between 2000 and 2015 had a mental illness or substance use disorder. The Guardian chronicled their experience in prison, calling it “poor treatment invisible to most ordinary Americans.” The Washington Post says of the 2.3 million Americans in prison, 85 percent have substance use disorder.

It is clear that the prison systems are filled with people struggling with one or both of these disorders. While prison may have become the de facto holding cell for people struggling with addiction and mental health, is it really the best way to help them? In Ohio and other states around the nation, the court system is attempting a new way of handling these cases; they are called “drug courts.”

This article explains why drug courts exist, how they work, and how prevalent they are in Ohio. What should addicts and their families know about drug court? How effective is drug court in helping those who are addicted get the treatment they need to start their journey toward recovery?

Ohio Drug Rehab – Court-Ordered Treatment

Drug court is Ohio’s way of coping with the overwhelming numbers of people going to jail or prison for drug-related offenses. These courts provide alternatives to a jail cell for criminal defendants convicted of non-violent drug or alcohol offenses.

For the substance users, ending up in drug court is a stroke of luck; only 11 percent of inmates struggling with addiction receive treatment for their disease in prison or jail. While these courts have a punitive judicial element, they are actually run by a multidisciplinary clinical team made up of Ohio drug rehab staff, community corrections staff, social workers, and local prosecutors.

Judge's gavel on top of a pile of pills.

The goal of these drug courts is to reduce drug or alcohol relapse and criminal behavior. Each case is treated individually, allowing for medical detox, inpatient addiction treatment, outpatient rehab, monitoring, and more. These courts can apply to juvenile offenders as well as adults and they offer counseling, work training, and education, providing a way to attain sobriety while learning skills to go back to work. There are also family drug courts that help keep families together when a parent has been affected by substance use disorder.

The U.S. Department of Justice quotes statistics on the effectiveness of this approach, finding that some drug courts were able to keep offenders out of the system more than five years later. They suggest that drug courts provide a viable and successful method for reducing drug use and criminal offenses.

Columbus CEO followed these courts, which were initiated in Ohio’s capital city in 2004. Administrators were looking for an alternative to the revolving door back to jail. The court “trades” two years of probation for admission into an Ohio drug rehab facility. It is an intensive program with sometimes-daily drug testing, intensive counseling, and addiction treatment. There are severe consequences for those who fail to comply. The program holds about a 50 percent success rate and includes intensive treatment for co-occurring drug, alcohol, and mental health disorders.

To find out more about how Ohio drug rehab programs can help your family, contact us today!