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Substance Abuse Evaluations

According to state and federal estimates, up to 70% of all persons charged with a criminal offense are impaired with drugs during the crime. Substance abuse evaluators interview defendants charged with drug and property offenses to determine the extent of their involvement with addictive drugs, subject them to urine screening to identify current drug use, and prepare drug assessments or reports for criminal judges.  The reports detail drug abuse histories, identify treatment needs and recommend counseling at local drug and alcohol treatment centers when support is needed to overcome addiction. Judges may order defendants into drug or alcohol treatment as a condition of their bail or probation.

This program is a resource to judges when determining appropriate community support systems for defendants who are released from jail. Failure to complete treatment may result in sanctions, including bail or probation revocation with a loss of liberty. For some defendants who suffer from severe drug addiction, receiving treatment arranged and mandated by the courts becomes not only a choice between jail and community living, but one of life or death. The program is expanding and has provided judges with an option to interfere with a cycle of arrest and drug abuse that threatened to smother the judicial system in 1989-90 with a colossal backlog of drug cases.

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