When it comes to drug charges and addiction, the cycle of abuse may best be broken not by punitive measures, but by rehabilitative measures. In general, the way drug courts work is that in exchange for a reduction in the individual's sentence, individuals accused of drug crimes can voluntarily undergo treatment approved by the court. The individual, his or her attorney, the court and the district attorney create a contract.
As of August 2014, New York State had 146 operational drug courts. Over 85,000 people have been part of drug court treatment programs, and over 38,000 of those people have successfully completed such programs. As this shows, drug courts can have a positive impact on both the individuals involved in such programs and the community as a whole.
Individuals who are facing criminal charges -- be they misdemeanors or felonies -- wherein drug addiction played a role in the alleged incident, may be able to participate in a criminal drug treatment court. If the individual sees the program through to the end, the charges against him or her may be reduced or dismissed all together, or the individual may see his or her sentence shortened.
Drug treatment plans may benefit those accused of drug offenses better in the long run than a lengthy prison sentence. New York has implemented drug courts statewide in an effort to better rehabilitate drug abusers, so they can get clean and live a productive life, which benefits the entire community as a whole. In the end, seeking treatment for a drug addiction may be a better option for those accused of drug charges than simply being subject to the long arm of the law in a traditional criminal court.
Source: NYCourts.gov, "Drug Treatment Courts," Accessed Oct. 12, 2015