Is drug court an option for you?

If you are a Missouri resident and you are currently facing drug-related criminal charges, you may find yourself stressing about the possibility that you may have to spend time behind bars. Chances are, you want to do everything in your power to avoid this fate, and depending on certain circumstances, you may have an alternative option available to you. Drug courts are becoming increasingly popular across the state and nation, both because they help ease the strain on overcrowded prisons and because they help drug addicts combat what is often the root of their troubles: drug addiction.

According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, incarceration does almost nothing to help drug addicts kick their addictions, despite the fact that about 95 percent of drug users released from prison return to abusing substances within a short timeframe. Those who complete drug court programs, however, as opposed to simply "doing time," are far less likely to return to drug abuse upon release, because drug court essentially forces addicts into compliance.

Typically, courts closely supervise drug court participants, and participants must, in most cases, undergo drug testing and make regular appearances before a judge to stay in the program. While drug courts can help you kick your drug addiction, with studies indicating they do so better than jail, probation and other treatment methods, they can also benefit your entire community.

For example, drug courts minimize crime, with such programs reducing crime by as much as 35 percent when compared with alternatives. Family reunification rates are also about 50 percent higher among drug court graduates, with their children typically spending substantially less time in out-of-home placements because of their parents' participation in the program.

This information about drug courts is educational in nature, but it is not a substitute for legal advice.

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