Availability and Utilization of Medication-Assisted Treatment in Drug Courts

"Virtually all drug courts (98%) reported that at least some of their participants were opioid-dependent in 2010. Prescription opioids were more frequently cited as the primary opioid problem than heroin (66% vs. 26%). This trend is particularly apparent in less densely populated areas: prescription versus heroin rates across the three population areas were: rural (76% vs. 12%), suburban (67% vs. 33%), and urban (prescription opioids less likely to be selected than heroin as the primary opioid; 38% vs. 50%); p < .01. Almost half (48%) of the drug courts estimated that more than 20% of their participants were opioid-dependent; 20% of drug courts estimated 10–20% of their participants were addicted to opioids, and 28% of drug courts estimated that 1–10% of their participants were addicted to opioids; 2% answered, “none,” and 2% reported “don’t know.” As shown in Table 3, 56% of drug courts reported at least some of their opioid dependent participants were receiving some type of MAT, 76% of urban courts, 58% of suburban, and 45% of rural courts (p<.01). Overall, 47% report that agonist medications are available under certain conditions (62% of urban courts, 48% of suburban courts, 40% of rural courts), and 18% report that naltrexone -- oral or long-acting injectable -- is available for the treatment of opioid dependence. Buprenorphine maintenance was more likely to be reported than methadone maintenance, 40% vs. 26%, respectively. Fifty percent of drug courts also reported that at least some of their participants with an alcohol disorder were receiving MAT for alcoholism: oral naltrexone (40%), extended-release naltrexone (28%); disulfiram (43%), acamprosate (30%)."


Matusow H, Dickman SL, Rich JD, et al. Medication Assisted Treatment in US Drug Courts: Results from a Nationwide Survey of Availability, Barriers and Attitudes. Journal of substance abuse treatment. 2013;44(5):473-480. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2012.10.004.