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SALT LAKE CITY — In November, when President Trump’s bipartisan commission on the opioid crisis issued its report, it recommended 54 solutions but put particular emphasis on two things: expanding access to medicine that helps addicts and creating more drug courts.
First introduced in 1989, drug courts are widely considered one of the nation’s most successful approaches to helping addicts get clean and stay out of jail. Utah’s drug courts have long been heralded as a national model.
But despite the program’s effectiveness, in Utah, the number of addicts participating in drug court fell by 10 percent between 2015 and 2017, according to the state’s Department of Human Services' Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.
A Deseret News review of drug courts in all 50 states has revealed that Utah is not alone. Although the number of drug court programs across the country is on the rise, the enrollment of addicts in some states has fallen.
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