Treatment and care for people with drug use disorders in contact with the criminal justice system

Published by
UNODC

This publication is intended to serve as an introductory reference, outlining the options available to States that are in line with the international drug control conventions and other relevant international instruments.

The focus of the publication is on practical information for policymakers and justice, health and other practitioners to identify the scope of the problem in their community, resources that can be used to address it, gaps that need to be filled and practical approaches for moving forward.

This publication consists of five chapters:

Chapter 1 defines the scope of the problem and the reasons to consider the provision of treatment as an alternative to conviction or punishment.


Chapter 2 discusses the rationale behind promoting treatment alternatives to conviction or punishment within the international legal framework.

Chapter 3 provides a synopsis of the key elements and evidence-based practices relevant to drug use disorder treatment services, including screening and assessment. An overview of effective treatment interventions for offenders with drug use disorders is also provided.

Chapter 4 identifies the diversion options to treatment, as an alternative or in addition to conviction or punishment.

Chapter 5 concludes by stating the main principles of treatment as an alternative to conviction or punishment.

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