Adult Drug Treatment Court - Ten Key Components of Drug Court

The early drug courts were planned to meet the specific needs of local law enforcement, courts and communities. However, many other jurisdictions used those as models and established similar goals in starting their own courts. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals' (NADCP) Standards Committee developed a manual on drug courts which sets forth ten key elements of successful drug courts:

  1. Integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services with justice system case processing.Cecil County has developed a post-plea drug court program which institutes a team approach toward tying to stop drug abuse and related criminal activity through the judicial system. It is our hope that through the Adult Drug Treatment Court (ADTC) Program we can motivate offenders to enter treatment and work with treatment providers to ensure their success. Through a collaborative process with all of the team members the participants will receive incentives or sanctions based on their progress.
  2. Use a non-adversarial approach in which prosecution and defense counsel promote public safety while protecting participants' due process rights. Our State’s Attorney and Public Defender have committed to working together as a team to focus on the participant’s recovery. The State’s Attorney will screen candidates to ensure they meet the established eligibility requirements. The Public Defender will collaborate with a participant’s attorney as well as with the participant to inform them of the drug court process.
  3. Identify eligible participants early for immediate referral to the program. Substance abuse problems may be easier to identify after offenders are arrested. When experiencing the crisis of arrest, offenders may be more open to pursuing treatment because the consequences of drug use are much more obvious at that time. Law enforcement agencies, community members, attorneys, or any interested party can use this crisis as a way to engage the offender in the ADTC program. Referral forms are available throughout out the community or from the Court.
  4. Provide access to a continuum of treatment and rehabilitation services. Only part of offenders' treatment takes place in the courtroom or in formal treatment settings. Through the Division of Parole and Probation, agents will assist in creating a therapeutic team approach to assist with secondary issues, such as housing and unemployment. If these issues are not addressed, successful substance abuse treatment will be compromised. Offenders need access to a full range of services as one size does not fit all.
  5. Monitor abstinence by frequent drug testing. Drug testing is the most reliable, objective way to detect recent drug use. A drug testing system ensures individual accountability and helps gauge participant's progress and compliance with the program. These services will be provided through the Cecil County Detention Center, CARC Unit. Participants will be randomly tested twice per week through urinalysis and/or Alco Monitor. All results will be forward to the Drug Court Coordinator.
  6. Coordinate court and treatment program responses to participants' compliance or lack of compliance, including contingency contracts that involve participants in their own sanctions and incentives. The Cecil County ADTC team will recommend rewards and sanctions that will promote ending drug use. The ADTC Judge will impose graduated sanctions, when necessary, in response to non-compliance with treatment and/or the program. When participants are to be recognized for positive progress and compliance with the program guidelines, rewards will be enthusiastically presented by the ADTC Judge as well as the team.
  7. Require ongoing judicial interaction with drug court participants. The ADTC Judge has taken the lead with our drug court team. Through the Judicial process, participants will be referred to the Cecil County Health Department for assessment and treatment, when possible and appropriate. Through the supervision of our ADTC Judge, participants will understand that someone in authority cares about their progress and success. Ultimately, this involvement by the ADTC Judge will increase the chance that participants will remain in the program.
  8. Monitor and evaluate achievement of program goals and program effectiveness. The goals and objectives of Cecil County ADTC are measurable, achievable, and realistic. This outcome data will be used to provide accountability to funding agencies and policy makers. The anticipated positive outcomes will increase the likelihood that the Cecil County ADTC program will continue to receive funding and community support.
  9. Promote effective drug court planning through interdisciplinary education of planning teams. The Cecil County ADTC team members, as well as those indirectly involved in the program, will continue to receive training and education through AOC, Federal and local trainings. Implementing the training and education obtained will ensure that the ADTC’s goals and policies are understood, reasonable and realistic. It will also provide opportunities for ongoing interaction between personnel from different agencies.
  10. Forge partnerships among drug courts, public agencies and community-based organizations.The Cecil County ADTC will work to create partnerships among organizations dedicated to rehabilitating substance abusing offenders. By establishing multiplepartnerships, more services are available to participants during and after the program. Increased resources lead to a higher program success rate, improved life skills and a more fulfilling, appropriate lifestyle for the participant and their family.