What are Florida's drug courts and do they work?

Drug addiction is a pandemic in the United States. It's so much of a problem that Florida lawmakers created the drug court system as an alternative to incarceration decades ago. In 1989, Miami-Dade County became the first jurisdiction to establish a drug court in the U.S.

American prisons, unfortunately, don't focus on rehabilitation. This country's recidivism rate hovers at around 70% as a result. The chances that an ex-con will wind up back in prison is quite high. Studies have shown that drug courts that focus more on treatment plans and recovery can significantly reduce relapses and the recurrence of criminal activities.

The Florida drug courts' Miami-Dade County launch was so successful that lawmakers introduced pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention programs in other jurisdictions around the state in 1993. This launch allowed for certain nonviolent felony offenders to take part in this program. Since then, many states have modeled their drug courts based on the one that originated in Florida.

In 2001, the Florida lawmakers made it clear that they intended to implement drug courts in every judicial circuit in the state to reduce crime and recidivism. Their goal was to break the cycle of addiction, abuse and neglect that leads to family dysfunction. They identified these factors as the ones that ultimately steer vulnerable individuals down the path of entering the justice system.

If you're facing drug charges, then there may be an alternative to incarceration available. Florida courts now recognize that drug addiction is an illness that can become a part of a person's past rather than their future if adequately treated. An experienced drug charges attorney can review your case and determine if you qualify for a treatment intervention program to get you the help you need in your Tampa case.

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