Alcohol, Marijuana Use, and Less Severe Drug Problems Qualifying Offenders for Drug Courts in the US

"Additional results reveal that, in practice, large numbers of drug courts are admitting offenders who are abusing alcohol and marijuana, but may not be clinically dependent or abusing more serious drugs. Consistent with the number of courts admitting individuals with lower levels of substance use and the number admitting individuals with DWI/DUI offenses, 65.6 percent of courts reported that a participant can be admitted into drug court for alcohol abuse only. An even larger percentage of courts (87.7 percent) indicated that participants can enter drug court for marijuana abuse only. Allowing participants into drug court based on alcohol abuse only did not vary by type of geographic area; however, allowing participants into drug court based on marijuana abuse only did vary geographically (X2=10.2, p<.01). The majority of courts that do not accept participants into drug court based only on marijuana abuse are located in urban areas (62.2 percent), suggesting they may have a greater focus on more serious drug problems."


Rossman, Shelli B., et al., "Final Report, Volume 2: The Multi-Site Adult Drug Court Evaluation: What's Happening with Drug Courts? A Portrait of Adult Drug Courts 2004" (Washington, DC: Urban Institute, June 2011), p. 27.