The establishment of drug courts in the State of Utah is part of an ongoing effort to combat the rising number of drug related crimes within our communities. Estimates have indicated that in recent years, arrests for drug related crimes have more than doubled. Additionally, judges have observed that the same offenders appear in their courts time and time again. It seemed as if traditional methods of dealing with addicts such as strict probation or mandatory imprisonment did not attack the fundamental problem of addiction.
Drug courts work by recognizing that unless substance abuse ends, fines and jail time are unlikely to prevent future criminal activity. Consequently, drug courts, through frequent testing and court supervision, focus upon eliminating drug addiction as a long-term solution to crime.
Since the first drug court in Utah was established in Third District Court (Salt Lake) in 1996, the program has spread quickly. There are an estimated 700-800 participants statewide and hundreds of successful graduates.