May 2019
Celebrating 30 Years of Drug Courts
May is National Drug Court Month, and this year marks thirty years of treatment courts in the United States. The first drug court was created in 1989 in Miami-Dade County, Florida. During the past three decades the number of drug courts has exceeded 4,000.

Treatment courts are designed with people in mind, essentially putting treatment and rehabilitation ahead of punishment. Instead of incarceration, the programs offer people with drug offenses the opportunity to enter court supervised, long-term treatment.

As public support for justice reform builds, so too does the recognition that a substance use disorder is a health issue and should be treated as such. The recent increase in opioid-related overdose deaths , with 130 Americans dying every day, changed the conversation about both substance use disorders and about treatment.

In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. To combat the crisis, the federal government called for improving access to treatment and recovery services.
Graphic of drug court facts
Treatment courts are a part of the solution. They help to save lives; reduce drug use, crime, and recidivism; save money; and make families and communities safer. This #DrugCourtMonth we celebrate those who worked hard to turn their lives around and the professionals who support them. Learn more.
Call for Papers for the Winter 2019 Issue of the Drug Court Review
Image of papers
The Drug Court Review invites manuscript submissions for the Winter 2019 issue focusing on tribal healing to wellness court programs and rural treatment court programs. The deadline for submissions is July 21, 2019, with a publication date of January 2020.

The Drug Court Review is a peer-reviewed journal established to promote research on issues relevant to the treatment court field and to foster a wider understanding of the programs and participants, identifying challenges faced and successes achieved.
Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities
Photo of the JDTC team at Georgetown University Training
Racial and ethnic disparities are present in every facet of the justice system. Even in the juvenile justice system, in which the total number of youth held in detention has dropped by 50% since 2000, youth of color are still five times more likely than white youth to be incarcerated. This disparity places people of color in danger, because incarceration is especially traumatic for young people. Persistent racial and ethnic disparities also undermine the perception of fairness that our justice system relies on to maintain validity.

To combat such an insidious justice issue, JPO’s Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Training and Technical Assistance team committed to a week-long training in racial and ethnic disparities from The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University . As a result of the training, JPO staff are currently building tools to help juvenile drug treatment courts assess equitable treatment and outcomes for all young people.
May Is a Big Month for the Justice in Government Project!
On May 7, the Justice in Government Project (JGP) is presenting on how civil legal aid can reduce barriers to employment and assist jobseekers at the National Association for Workforce Development Professionals . During the Equal Justice Conference , JGP is presenting on a panel about funding legal aid to assist individuals with substance use disorders through the Victims of Crime Act and holding the JGP’s annual partners meeting. Highlights for this meeting include: JGP’s toolkit launch, hearing from Hawaii about launch of their Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable, the latest on partnering with legal aid to combat the opioid crisis, developments with funding legal aid to assist jobseekers, and updates with Victims of Crime Act funding.
Drug Court Resources
For National Drug Court Month, we’ve highlighted some resources available to justice experts, drug court professionals, policymakers, researchers, and anyone interested in these issues.

Drug Court Database and Legislative updates
Curious about which states have drug courts? Check out the National Drug Court Database . Searching for the latest pending, enacted, and failed legislation in your state, check out the legislative updates .

Drug Court Twitter
Did you know the National Drug Court Resource, Policy, & Evidence-Based Practice Center is on Twitter? Follow NDCRC for the latest news @theNDCRC .

Drug Court Explainer Video
The Drug Court Explained is an animated video made to demystify drug courts and to show the public and the treatment court community that drug courts are part of the solution to the unprecedented public health crisis of drug addiction.
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Visit the JPO blog to read posts from our staff on issues ranging from the right to counsel, juvenile justice, and treatment courts.