Ohio Drug Court

Written by Theresa Valenzky

& Medically Reviewed by Jenni Jacobsen, LSW

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Last Updated - 1/17/2023

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Updated 01/17/2023

It’s no secret that drug misuse and crime are related. In fact, one recent study with 200 jail inmates found that 87% met the criteria for a substance use disorder, the clinical term for addiction. Society has begun to question whether holding people in jail or prison is the best way to help them. In Ohio and other states, the court system is attempting a new way of handling drug-related cases; the solution is called “drug courts.”

Statistics on Ohio Drug Court

According to 2020 data from the National Drug Court Resource Center, Ohio has 112 adult drug courts and 34 family courts. In addition, the state operates 20 juvenile drug courts. Based on this data, there are more adult drug courts in Ohio than in any other state. 

Additional data from the Ohio ACLU has revealed the following statistics about Ohio drug courts:

  • Only a small portion (7.9%) of adult drug court participants commit another criminal offense while involved in drug court. 
  • Most Ohio drug courts report that participants receive MAT services. Vivitrol and Suboxone are most commonly-prescribed medications for drug court participants. 
  • Around 35% of drug court participants successfully graduate from their program.

What Is Drug Court? 

The term “drug court” refers to specially designed court dockets that aim to rehabilitate offenders with substance use disorders to reduce criminal activity. Drug court participants receive services to address substance misuse, and the court system oversees these services to ensure participants are compliant. 

Drug courts are an alternative, specialized approach for processing offenders with substance use disorders. Instead of incarceration, drug courts facilitate community-based treatment, and participants often have the opportunity to have charges reduced or dismissed upon completing a drug court program. 

Related Topic: Court-Ordered Rehab in Ohio

How Does Drug Court Work?

If someone is deemed eligible for drug court, they will be placed on a specialized docket. Once enrolled in drug court, a participant is referred to treatment services within the community, and the court will monitor their progress with treatment. Court staff, such as probation officers, ensure participants comply with treatment and administer random drug screenings. Drug court participants appear before a judge for review hearings and may receive criminal sanctions if they test positive for drugs or are found non-compliant with attending treatment.

Types of Drug Courts in Ohio

Several drug court programs are located in Ohio and across the U.S. There are three common drug court types. 

Adult Drug Treatment Court

When people use the term “drug court,” they commonly refer to an adult drug treatment court. This specialized court docket oversees adult offenders, links them to treatment services and monitors their progress with review hearings and random drug screenings. Adult treatment courts aim to rehabilitate offenders with addictions to reduce their risk of committing another crime. 

Family Drug Treatment Court

Some counties may offer family drug treatment courts, which oversee child abuse and neglect cases involving a parent with a substance use disorder. These courts aim to provide parents with services and support to overcome addiction so they can safely reunite with their children. 

Juvenile Drug Treatment Court

Juvenile drug treatment court is a specialized docket within the juvenile court system. The judge leads a team of professionals, such as probation officers, mental health workers and vocational specialists, who work together to address the teen’s substance misuse. 

FAQs on Drug Court

How Long Does Drug Court Last in Ohio?

The length of a drug court program will depend on what county you live in, your court system’s policies, and your unique needs and situation. For example, Hancock County states that their drug court is intended to last 12–18 months, but since programming is based on a person’s individual needs, it can be shorter or longer than this intended duration.

How Much Does Ohio Drug Court Cost?

Ohio drug courts are funded by a combination of state and federal dollars. Currently, Ohio provides millions of dollars in funding for drug courts. Drug court participants may pay a probation fee to cover some costs. These fees can differ by county.  

Who Is Eligible for Drug Court in Ohio? 

Each county sets its eligibility requirements for participation in drug court. Most Ohio counties perform a risk assessment to determine if someone is eligible for drug court. Some people may be disqualified from drug court if they have repeat offenses, and a little over half of Ohio drug courts disqualify people who have committed a violent crime. 

Drug Addiction Programs at The Recovery Village Columbus

If you’re participating in a drug court in Columbus, Ohio, or surrounding areas and are searching for a treatment provider, The Recovery Village Columbus is here to help. We offer a full continuum of treatment services, including inpatient rehab and outpatient care. Our inpatient facility includes numerous amenities, such as an art studio, two gyms and a recreation room. Contact us today to begin the admissions process. 

View Sources

Steven L. Proctor; Norman G. Hoffman; Alyssa Raggio. “Prevalence of Substance Use Disorders an[…]Stability Over Time.” Criminal Justice and Behavior, 2018. Accessed September 23, 2022.

National Drug Court Resource Center. “Treatment Courts Across the United States.”2020. Accessed September 23, 2022.

Ohio ACLU. “Are Drug Courts the Answer? In Ohio, it�[…]pshot of the System.” January 2021. Accessed September 23, 2022.

Hancock County Common Pleas. “Drug Court Program Description.” March 2015. Accessed September 23, 2022.


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