The country is struggling through an epidemic of opioid addiction, and that crisis is manifested throughout our society in many ways, including drug-related crimes. In an attempt to counter this scourge, the state of New Jersey has offered an alternative to criminal prosecution in the form of its Drug Court Program. Started in 2002, the program has been viewed as so successful that in July of 2012 former governor Chris Christie expanded the program. The Drug Court Program, which is open to adults charged with drug-related crimes that are likely to result in incarceration, requires applicants to undergo a legal review and clinical assessment by drug court personnel. If they are accepted, program participants are enrolled in a clinically-prescribed treatment program that includes treatment sessions, random drug tests, meetings with probation officers and the Drug Court judge. They are paired with sponsors who are either current program participants or graduates. Though the program was initially set up to be strictly voluntary, in the last few years it has been amended to allow the courts to compel those who are resistant to acknowledging that they have a substance abuse program to participate. The program is not open to those who are either repeat offenders or considered violent and includes both those charged with drug offenses and crimes that are apparently motivated by a drug addiction. There are several benefits that the New Jersey drug courts offer those accused of drug offenses. Not only does the program keep them out of prison, it has also successfully helped many break the cycle of addiction. The program boasts over 4,000 graduates, with 84% employed at the time of graduation and 61% having been able to obtain a valid driver’s license. There were also 348 babies born drug free to participants, and there are currently 5,900 people that are enrolled. The New Jersey drug court program is being recognized as a model for the rest of the country. Not only does it provide a real opportunity for those who enroll, it has also realized tremendous cost savings for the state over the costs of incarceration and an improvement in quality of life for those who have been the victims of drug-related crimes. If you or someone you love has been charged with a drug-related offense and need information on the drug court program, contact our office today to set up a consultation on how we can help.