The Wild, Wild West of Addiction Treatment

Screenshot of an episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on rehabilitation centers

Addiction is complex. Addiction treatment is even more so. John Oliver, the host of Last Week Tonight, provides an intriguing glimpse into some of the complexities of this industry during his May 20, 2018, episode.[1] I recently watched the episode, and even as someone whose work over the past five years has centered on drug treatment courts (including drug treatment), I was shocked. I found it hard to believe that the $34 billion treatment industry, an industry that includes over 14,500 drug treatment facilities in the United States, is effectively unregulated at the federal level with “no federal standards for counseling practices or rehab programs.”

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From Student to Practitioner: My Time at NADCP 2018

Caroline at GraduationJust four years ago I was sitting with this exact (probably outdated, now) laptop trying to sell myself to American University’s admissions team. In my application, I vowed to engage in every opportunity possible to immerse myself in the criminal justice education I was pursuing. Four years later, I can proudly say that after completing three internships, graduating with University and Latin Honors, getting hired at the Justice Programs Office, and accepting a scholarship to attend the Washington College of Law (WCL), I have done just that. Now, after attending the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) Annual Conference in Houston, I know I am ready to pursue my own legal career and advocate for these life-changing specialty dockets.

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Friday News Roundup: June 8, 2018

Friday News Roundup

President Trump commutes the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson following lobbying from Kim Kardashian West, Wisconsin juvenile prison officials agree to end pepper spraying and solitary confinement in response to ACLU lawsuit, and Texas counties are being forced to shore up public defense due to lack of state funds. All of this and much more below in our latest edition of the JPO Friday News Roundup.

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One Person Can Change the World

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Reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination has me thinking a lot about our progress since then on the civil rights and social justice issues he championed. I’ve read that RFK spent more time than most politicians visiting areas of the country that faced issues he sought to change—like discrimination, labor rights, and poverty—to gain firsthand experience.

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Healing While Defending Right to Counsel

Preeti Menon R2C sign

For those who work in the treatment court field, how often is a public defender part of your drug treatment court team? If your answer is “sometimes,” “not often,” or “not at all,” please continue to read. If your answer is “always,” kudos to you; please share this blog post and your stories with us.

Drug treatment courts use a specialized model for people facing criminal drug charges who live with serious substance use and mental health disorders. Drug court teams, which comprise members of the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health, social services, and treatment communities, work together to help addicted offenders get into long-term recovery. As part of the drug treatment court team, public defenders participate in the team meetings and often provides input in his/her client’s treatment plan.

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A Place Called OSCA

The Justice Programs Office is celebrating National Drug Court Month by sharing the personal perspectives of those who work in the treatment court field. Angela Plunkett, Statewide Drug Court Coordinator for the State of Missouri, finishes our guest series with her personal journey from a tough-as-nails parole officer to becoming a drug court advocate and statewide coordinator. 

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Just by looking at my 5’1 stature, you wouldn’t guess I used to be a hard-nosed, pistol-packin’ parole officer (PO), nicknamed The Iron Maiden (the only nickname I care to repeat).

I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I was a big-headed, judgmental PO who used to say to clients, “If I can say NO to drugs, you can too,” and “You’d better not EVER lie to me…”

The associate judge approached myself and three other PO’s in the law library one day after court. He asked if we had ever heard of “drug court.” My response, which surprised even me, was, “I don’t know what it is, but I’m all in!” After 12 years at Probation & Parole I was tired of the generational, revolving door and needed something new.

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Friday News Roundup: May 25, 2018

Friday News Roundup

The House Appropriations Committee greenlights a bill to fund the fight against the opioid epidemic, the governor of Colorado asks lawmakers to participate in an intensive review the state’s juvenile justice system, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court approves a pay increase for court-appointed defense attorneys. These stories and more below in the latest edition of the JPO Friday News Roundup. 

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Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Training at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference

Our juvenile drug treatment court team is excited to join our partners and friends at the National Association of Drug Court Professional Annual Conference (NADCP). Don’t miss out on the workshops we are hosting!

The OJJDP Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Guidelines Workshop: Kids Matter
Wednesday, May 30, 8:45 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. | 351 B/E
Trainers: Matthew Collinson, Evan Elkin, Bridgett Ortega, Jessica Pearce, Doris Perdomo-Johnson, Zoë Root, Wendy Schiller, Megan Ward, Jacqueline van Wormer

All juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs) want to see the best outcomes for the youth in their programs, but until recently there hasn’t been a clear path to achieve this goal. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Guidelines provide courts with an outline of evidence-based practices shown to respond to the unique needs of adolescents and improve outcomes for youth. Join the Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts Training and Technical Assistance Initiative, a project partnership of the Justice Programs Office at American University and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, for an in-depth training on how the Guidelines can shape a JDTC that is functional, developmentally appropriate, equitable, and results in youth living healthy and save lives.

The Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Guidelines: The Big Picture, The Critical Details
Thursday, May 31 at 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. | 360 AD
Presenters: Zoë Root and Jacqueline van Wormer

 All juvenile drug treatment courts want to see the best outcomes for the youth in their programs, but until recently there hasn’t been a clear path to achieve this goal. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Guidelines provide courts with an outline of evidence-based practices shown to respond to the unique needs of adolescents and improve outcomes for youth. Join the Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts Training and Technical Assistance Initiative, a project partnership of the Justice Programs Office at American University and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, for an overview of the key principals of the Guidelines.

Evidence-Based Substance Use Disorder Treatment for Juveniles
Thursday, May 31 at 3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | 360 AD
Presenter: Doris Perdomo-Johnson

It is well established that youth differ significantly from adults in brain development, affecting their behavior and risk-taking calculations. Join Doris Perdomo-Johnson, clinical research coordinator at the University of Miami, to learn how juvenile drug treatment courts (JDCTs) should apply an adolescent-based approach in the development of their policies and procedures and improve outcomes for the youth in their court. Ms. Perdomo-Johnson will explore the differences between adolescent and adult substance use, effective methods to address substance use during the teenage years, and ultimately the creation of a “culture of change, acceptance, and resilience” in JDTCs.

Prescription Opioid Use Among Youth and Implications for Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts with
Friday, June 1 at 1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | 320 C
Presenter: Marc Fishman, MD

The rate of opioid use among teens may not be as high as in the adult population, but recent research has shown that youth are much more likely to experience negative outcomes from opioid misuse than adults. Dr. Marc Fishman will discuss prevention strategies for opioid misuse and how juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs) can play a role in implementing those strategies. In addition, JDTC practitioners will receive training on how this public health concern could potentially affect the participants of their programs and how they should be prepared to respond.