Drug Courts

Research to Practice Initiative

The Adult Drug Court Research to Practice Initiative promotes the dissemination of emerging research on drug courts.

A drug court is a specialized or problem-solving court-based program that targets criminal offenders and parents with pending child welfare cases who have alcohol and other drug addiction and dependency problems.

As of June 30, 2013, there were over 2800 drug courts operating throughout the U.S. More than half of these target adult offenders; others address juvenile, child welfare and different court case types.[1]

Adult Drug Court Locations in the United States
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Number and Types of Drug Courts
(As of June 30, 2013) [1]
Type of Drug CourtNumber
Adult Drug Courts1,485
Juvenile Drug Courts [2]447
Adult Drug/DWI422
Federal Drug25
Federal Veterans4

Find a drug court using the National Drug Court Resource Center's database Exit Notice.

The Drug Court Model

Although adult drug courts vary in target population, program model and service resources, they are generally based on a comprehensive model involving:

  • Offender assessment.
  • Judicial interaction.
  • Monitoring (e.g., drug testing) and supervision.
  • Graduated sanctions and incentives.
  • Treatment services.

Drug court programs are usually managed by a nonadversarial and multidisciplinary team. Recent research has shown that the stability of a drug court program and its judge play a key role in successful case management and reducing offender recidivism.

For more information on adult and juvenile drug court program models:


[1] Statistics provided by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. 

[2] Juvenile drug courts try to address the unique circumstances surrounding adolescent delinquency coupled with substance abuse. For more information on juvenile drug courts, see:

Date Modified: August 27, 2014