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Drug Courts: An Effective Strategy for Communities Facing Methamphetamine

NCJ Number
C. West Huddleston III
Date Published
May 2005
16 pages
Publication Series
This paper profiles the increasing threat of methamphetamine production and use in the United States and advocates the use of drug courts to address it.
In recent years, methamphetamine--a highly addictive, easy-to-manufacture stimulant--has become one of the most harmful and widespread illegal drugs in the United States. The drug induces violent and erratic behavior in addicts, endangers children living in the vicinity of its manufacture, and jeopardizes the safety of communities where it is produced and used. To counter this threat, many States and counties are sharing law enforcement resources through multijurisdictional task forces; however, the primary tool for addressing methamphetamine addiction and trafficking is the drug court. The drug court combines intensive drug rehabilitation services for addicts with the legal requirement to complete treatment. Progress in treatment and compliance with the court's mandated conditions are monitored continuously by the court. Drug courts feature longer treatment periods, treatment attention to co-occurring mental health disorders, and intensive community supervision and monitoring. Drug courts are also helping children who are exposed to methamphetamine use by providing them with health care, protective services, and educational services. Positive outcome data and impressive anecdotal evidence have stimulated broad support for drug courts among criminal justice agencies, local communities, and academia. Four exemplary drug court programs that effectively address the methamphetamine user are described, and recommendations are offered for policymakers and drug courts planning to target a population that uses methamphetamine. 17 references and a listing of 10 key components of a drug court

Date Published: May 1, 2005