Medication assisted treatment in US drug courts: results from a nationwide survey of availability, barriers and attitudes

J Subst Abuse Treat. May-Jun 2013;44(5):473-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2012.10.004. Epub 2012 Dec 3.

Abstract

Drug treatment courts are an increasingly important tool in reducing the census of those incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses; medication assisted treatment (MAT) is proven to be an effective treatment for opioid addiction. However, little is known about the availability of and barriers to MAT provision for opioid-addicted people under drug court jurisdiction. Using an online survey, we assessed availability, barriers, and need for MAT (especially agonist medication) for opioid addiction in drug courts. Ninety-eight percent reported opioid-addicted participants, and 47% offered agonist medication (56% for all MAT including naltrexone). Barriers included cost and court policy. Responses revealed significant uncertainty, especially among non-MAT providing courts. Political, judicial and administrative opposition appear to affect MAT's inconsistent use and availability in drug court settings. These data suggest that a substantial, targeted educational initiative is needed to increase awareness of the treatment and criminal justice benefits of MAT in the drug courts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Criminal Law*
  • Data Collection
  • Drug Users / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Mandatory Programs
  • Methadone / therapeutic use
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment / methods*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • United States

Substances

  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Methadone