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Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. 2019 Feb;63(2):257-275. doi: 10.1177/0306624X18789832. Epub 2018 Jul 30.

Evaluation of Treatment and Other Factors That Lead to Drug Court Success, Substance Use Reduction, and Mental Health Symptomatology Reduction Over Time.

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1 Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.


Adults presenting with substance use and mental health disorders in the criminal justice system is well documented. While studies have examined drug courts and medication-assisted treatment (MAT), few have examined social and behavioral health indicators, and even fewer have multiple study periods. This study employed a comprehensive approach to studying the MAT contribution to drug court success; reduce substance use, mental health symptoms, and risky behaviors; and the role that violence or trauma plays in mental health symptomatology. Using three time points, our findings indicated that MAT did not play a significant role in the reduction of substance use, risky behaviors, or mental health symptoms or increasing the odds of successful court graduation. However, there was an overall improvement from intake to termination in reduction of substance use, risky behaviors, and mental health symptomatology. Other factors, including social support, may play a role in drug court graduation. Policy implications are discussed.


drug court; medication assisted treatment; mental health symptomatology; substance use; trauma


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