Drug use devastates communities and destroys families. Too often, our youth suffer the most in this ongoing epidemic—whether it is from a parent’s addiction or from their own battles with drugs.
I am Chyrl Jones, Acting Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, known as OJJDP. May was Drug Court Month—an ideal time for our office to recommit its support to these innovative courts and build on their success.
Drug courts help youth and families overcome the effects of substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. OJJDP funds three distinct types of drug courts. They include:
- Juvenile drug treatment courts that work directly with young people to address substance use issues.
- Family drug courts, which aim to reduce incidents of child abuse and neglect that result from parental substance use. And,
- Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts that address youth drug and alcohol use in Tribal communities.
In fiscal year 2021, OJJDP will award $26 million to support drug court services—just like we did last year. We are committed to this critical work.
We also supported the development of Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards. Based on more than 25 years of practice, the Center for Children and Family Futures developed these standards to help practitioners establish and sustain effective courts. In May, as part of its training and technical assistance program, the Center welcomed a fourth cohort of Peer Learning Courts—inviting eight highly effective family drug courts to serve as mentor courts.
To help juvenile drug treatment courts apply the principles of recovery capital, our office is funding a National Association of Drug Court Professionals' program called Adolescent Recovery Oriented Systems of Care. Recovery capital refers to the resources that individuals need to maintain drug-free lives—including financial, social, community and personal assets. For example, positive peers are a form of social capital. Increasing recovery capital reduces relapse and recidivism.
These are just a few examples of how OJJDP is supporting the establishment, expansion, and enhancement of drug courts.
Substance use is a disease that infects individuals, families, and communities. But drug courts can—and do—bring people back from the brink. OJJDP is proud to support these innovative courts and the dedicated professionals who make them possible.