Skip to content


"As treatment courts continue to expand, it is critical that our field remains committed to following what the research says works. The Best Practice Standards will provide every Adult Drug Court with the information needed to save lives, reunite families, and conserve valuable resources.” NADCP COO Terrence Walton

This groundbreaking set of evidence-based standards is your blueprint to dramatically improve outcomes for individuals involved in the justice system due to substance use disorders and mental health conditions. Representing 25 years of empirical study on addiction, pharmacology, behavioral health, and criminal justice, these Standards are the foundation upon which all adult drug courts must operate. They hold the keys to transform how the justice system responds to people in crisis.

Since the release of Volume I in 2013, 20 out of 25 states (80%) responding to a national survey indicated they have already adopted the Standards for purposes of credentialing, funding, or training new and existing drug courts in their jurisdictions.

For Spanish translation of the standards, click here.

Best Practice Standards Vol. I

I. Target Population

II. Equity and Inclusion

III. Roles and Responsibilities of the Judge

IV. Incentives, Sanctions, and Therapeutic Adjustments

V. Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Best Practice Standards Vol. II

VI. Complementary Treatment and Social Services

VII. Drug and Alcohol Testing

VIII. Multidisciplinary Team

IX. Census and Caseloads

X. Monitoring and Evaluation