How common is drug use among participants in drug court?
Brooklyn focus group participants had mixed views about how often drug use occurs:
When asked about the level of drug use among program participants, Las Vegas focus group members said they were uncertain, but estimated that about 40 to 50 percent of drug court participants still used. They also believed that continued drug use was more common among people in the early stages of the program and considerably less frequent among people reaching the later stages. One participant stated that some drug court clients drank alcohol as a substitute for drug use. However, all Las Vegas focus group participants seemed to agree strongly that drug use was much lower among participants than it would have been if they were not in the drug court program.
The participants seemed hopeful when discussing the prospects of drug court participants after graduating from the drug court. They believed that, in general, defendants who complete the program have made a personal commitment to change their lives:
For one Las Vegas participant, success after drug court depended a lot on the individual:
Miami participants were noticeably reluctant to venture opinions about the level of drug use and crime by people in the drug court program, stating that, in general, they had no idea how many other clients were doing drugs while in the program. One person guessed that about 25 percent of participants were still abusing drugs. Two focus group participants suggested that no one was doing drugs while in the drug court program.
San Bernardino focus group participants had little to say on the subject:
[General unwillingness to talk much more about it.]
Several Seattle participants expressed the opinion that their peers turned from drug use to alcohol: