Money Matters: Cost Effectiveness of Juvenile Drug Court with and without Evidence-Based Treatments

J Child Adolesc Subst Abuse. 2012;21(1):69-90. doi: 10.1080/1067828X.2012.636701.


The 12-month cost effectiveness of juvenile drug court and evidence-based treatments within Court were compared with traditional Family Court for 128 substance abusing/dependent juvenile offenders participating in a four-condition randomized trial. Intervention conditions included Family Court with community services (FC), Drug Court with community services (DC), Drug Court with Multisystemic Therapy (DC/MST), and Drug Court with MST enhanced with a contingency management program (DC/MST/CM). Average cost effectiveness ratios for substance use and criminal behavior outcomes revealed that economic efficiency in achieving outcomes generally improved from FC to DC, with the addition of evidence-based treatments improving efficiency in obtaining substance use outcomes.