Every year, numerous North Carolina residents are arrested and charged with various drug-related offenses. Some will get their cases dismissed, some will end up behind bars and some will end up in court-ordered drug treatment. Of those who cannot get their cases dismissed, who might qualify for drug treatment court?

Adult drug treatment court is meant for offenders who have drug and/or alcohol dependencies. The state believes that these individuals would better benefit from substance abuse rehabilitation rather than incarceration. To be eligible for drug treatment court, one must:

  • Be eligible for punishment for his or her offenses
  • Meet local program requirements
  • Be medically diagnosed as having a chemical dependency
  • Be a nonviolent offender

The state offers drug treatment court for several reasons. First, it helps keep people out of jail. Second, it allows those who need substance abuse treatment to get it, which in turn will hopefully stop them from being involved in drug-related crimes in the future. Third, it keeps the criminal court workload for drug offenses down.

Drug treatment court is not for people who are unwilling to put in the work needed to complete the program. It involves submitting to random drug tests, attending private and group therapy sessions and appearing in court when required — among other things. Those who do not meet program requirements have their cases moved back to criminal court where punishment will be assigned if convicted. North Carolina residents who are facing drug charges can turn to legal counsel for more information about drug treatment court and to determine if it is something worth pursuing.