The current opioid crisis has highlighted the need for all treatment courts to adopt best practices related to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). A study published in 2012 found that 56 percent of drug courts offer MAT, however 98 percent of drug courts reported opiate-addicted participants. Barriers to MAT include cost, availability and court policy.
As NADCP COO Terrence Walton explained during the 2018 NADCP Annual Training Conference (right), the use of MAT when medically necessary should not prohibit any individual from gaining entry into treatment court, remaining in treatment court, or completing treatment court.
NADCP has made this issue a priority and provides the following resources to assist your program.
"The decision whether or not to allow the use of MAT is based on a particularized assessment in each case of the needs of the participant and the interests of the public and the administration of justice." - NADCP Board Resolution
Island County drug court rules medication helps with addiction
Wed Apr 19th, 2017
by Jessie Stensland
Kody Schwiger gave up everything for heroin.
A low-point, he recalls, was a night in which he smoked the drug in a dark port-a-potty and started walking to his parents’ Clinton home. He had been kicked out, but sometimes broke into a camper trailer on the property and slept there.
It started raining hard as he walked, instantly soaking him to the bone. He made it to the trailer and smoked some more, even before taking off his wet clothes. After a night of shivering in the cold, he put the wet clothes back on in the morning and went off to find more of the drug.
Schwiger financed his habit by breaking into vacation homes and often spent nights in those homes, eating what food he could find.
He had no future. Heroin, he said, kept him in a delusional fog.
Schwiger was eventually arrested for breaking into a house and was facing a felony charge. He was accepted into Island County Superior Court’s adult Drug Court, a program in which participants are closely monitored and have to complete a treatment program and other requirements. If successful, the charge is erased from the participant’s record.
Schwiger didn’t do well, though not for lack of trying. He just couldn’t kick the habit. He was in danger of being expelled, so he finally agreed to try Suboxone, a medication that helps people get off heroin.
For Schwiger, it made all the difference. He was finally able to stop using and turn his life around. He graduated from adult Drug Court last Thursday in a ceremony attended by drug-court participants, judges, attorneys and court employees who worked with him every step of the way. They each cited Schwiger’s hard work and the medication as crucial to his success. Read the rest.