What to do if a loved one is facing Drug Court

Last Edited: August 26, 2019

Patricia Howard, LMFT, CADC

Clinically Reviewed
Jim Brown, CDCA

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and certified by an addiction professional.

drug court

If this is the first time you have had a loved one who is facing drug court, it can be scary and intimidating if you do not know what to expect. However, Drug Court is meant to help people with addictions that have compelled them to commit crimes in order to sustain their addiction in some way. This could mean that your loved one broke into someone’s private property to steal items or money needed in order to get their drug of choice or the drug itself.

The goal of Drug Court is to rehabilitate someone who has an addiction. In order to be considered for Drug Court, you must be eligible. Eligibility varies from court to court but in most cases, you must not be a violent offender. In addition, restitution to your loved ones’ victim(s) must be paid and permission from your loved ones’ victim(s) must be obtained.

If your loved one is ready to get clean and sober, this will be a chance for him or her to go through treatment and get other services they need to get clean. They will be held accountable by the judge in Drug Court so it will be imperative that they meet their obligations. They will be regularly treated for drug or alcohol use at random times to be sure they are doing so along with regular meetings with the judge. If your loved one is successful in Drug Court, the judge will likely reward him/her. In turn, should your loved one’s commitment to the treatment program wanes, the judge will likely take action by restricting any previous rewards given for agreeing to take part in treatment.

Drug Courts have been effective in getting people the help they need with their addiction. Reducing drug use also reduces crime, which saves money and lives. For many, Drug Court gives them that one last chance they need to finally get their lives back on track.

If your loved one has committed a crime and faces Criminal Court, they may be able to request that the judge send them to Drug Court where they can get the help they need. The hope is that they are not part of the vicious cycle that keeps landing them right back in front of the judge again.

If you’re not sure if your loved one has an addiction, look for some common symptoms of addiction. Your loved one may have different friends lately, lose or gain weight with no explanation, and hygiene and appearance become less of a priority. Your loved one may sleep at odd hours or ask to borrow money. Uncharacteristic problems in relationships or at school or work begin to appear in your loved one’s life if they have become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Your loved one may be able to avoid Drug Court if he or she is able to recognize and treat their addiction to drugs or alcohol.

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