Quasi-compulsory treatment of drug dependent offenders: an international literature review

Subst Use Misuse. 2005;40(3):269-83. doi: 10.1081/ja-200049159.


This paper reports on a review of the literature on the quasi-compulsory treatment (QCT) of drug dependent offenders in five languages; English, German, French, Italian and Dutch. The findings of this review on previous reviews and on the availability, process, and outcomes of QCT are summarized. The review found that previous, anglophone reviews have tended to present positive outcomes from QCT, but that there are some problems with this research. QCT is increasingly available internationally, but may be applied at different stages of the criminal justice process, and to different types of offender. Research on the process of QCT is comparatively rare. The available research does suggest problems of system integration between criminal justice and treatment agencies in implementing QCT. The research in languages other than English shows a wider range of outcomes (including negative effects) for QCT than was found in the English literature. We conclude that the international literature shows that QCT does not inevitably produce worse outcome than voluntary treatment, but that we need more multimethod, multisite studies of QCT in order to inform policy and practice, which is currently being made in the absence of reliable evidence in many countries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crime / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Motivation*
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Substance-Related Disorders / ethnology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome