NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow joined Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley; Cook County, Illinois, Chief Judge Timothy Evans; and Illinois Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, Inc. (TASC) Director Melody Heaps at a July 24 press conference in Chicago to launch NIDA's Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations: A Research-Based Guide. The event also featured talks by six former clients of TASC, a not-for-profit organization that provides treatment management programs and services.
Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations outlines 13 research-based principles of successful treatment of drug abusers who have entered the criminal justice system:
- Drug addiction is a brain disease that affects behavior.
- Recovery from drug addiction requires effective treatment, followed by management of the problem over time.
- Treatment must last long enough to produce stable behavioral changes.
- Assessment is the first step in treatment.
- Tailoring services to fit the needs of the individual is an important part of effective drug abuse treatment for criminal justice populations.
- Drug use during treatment should be carefully monitored.
- Treatment should target factors that are associated with criminal behavior.
- Criminal justice supervision should incorporate treatment planning for drug-abusing offenders, and treatment providers should be aware of correctional supervision requirements.
- Continuity of care is essential for drug abusers reentering the community.
- A balance of rewards and sanctions encourages prosocial behavior and treatment participation.
- Offenders with co-occurring drug abuse and mental health problems often require an integrated treatment approach.
- Medications are an important part of treatment for many drug-abusing offenders.
- Treatment planning for drug-abusing offenders who are living in or reentering the community should include strategies to prevent and treat serious, chronic medical conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis.
The publication also provides answers to frequently asked questions about addiction as a chronic disease; co-occurring mental, emotional, and environmental conditions that make relapse more likely; recommendations for the components of treatment; cost-effectiveness of treatment; and the role of medication in treating substance-abusing offenders.
The press conference highlighted innovative substance abuse programs in Cook County, including a NIDA-sponsored project training judges about the neuroscience of addiction and treatment, so they can be better prepared to place addicted defendants in adequate treatment environments.
Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations and its companion publication, Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment (issued in 1999) can be accessed on NIDA's Web site or by calling 800-729-6686.