Reducing Substance Use Disorders and Related Offending: A Continuum of Evidence-Informed Practices in the Criminal Justice System
There are more than 20 million individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) in the United States (Office of the Surgeon General, 2016), a subset of whom are involved with the criminal justice system. Seventy-eight percent of violent crimes and 77 percent of property crimes involve drugs and/or alcohol (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). More than half of the 2.2 million individuals housed in U.S. prisons and jails meet the clinical diagnosis criteria for SUDs. The government spends an estimated $74 billion dollars on court processing, community-supervision, and imprisonment of individuals with SUDs (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2010). Over the past several decades, research and rigorous evaluation has provided insight on effective practices for individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) and the importance of treatment to reduce criminal justice system involvement. By integrating evidence-informed practices, criminal justice agencies and communities can save lives and decrease costs associated deep-end criminal justice system and healthcare system involvement. This resource was developed to share evidence-informed practices for addressing SUDs and substance misuse to guide local-level assessment, planning, and implementation efforts around SUD prevention and intervention. Communities are encouraged to use this continuum to examine the gaps and needs that exist in their areas and explore the options available to address them.