Drug courts in South Carolina: Hope for individuals struggling with addiction

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2024 | Drug Crimes

If South Carolina courts charge you with a drug offense, you may not be aware that courts may give you the option of entering a drug court program.

Instead of simply punishing and sending people to jail, courts provide eligible individuals charged with certain offenses with the option of entering a drug court program.

While not everyone qualifies for the program, it is worthwhile to discuss this with your attorney in case you qualify and are interested in participating.

South Carolina courts understand the complexity of addiction, and this program exists to address the root causes of substance abuse and drug addiction.

How does it work?

Instead of going through the traditional court process, if you qualify, the judge will allow you to enter drug court. You may still be required to show up for hearings with the judge because it is likely they will want to see if you are progressing and getting better over time.

The program itself involves:

  • Treatment for addiction
  • Counseling or therapy
  • Support groups
  • Regular drug testing
  • Vocational training
  • Educational training
  • Check-ins with the drug court judge

The program is not a way to escape consequences. Drug court is difficult to complete because it is a long process, and the goal is for the individual to be completely sober and no longer addicted to drugs.

Science confirms that these programs can be difficult because the withdrawal of drugs and learning to live a life without drugs are hard things for people to experience.

Who qualifies for drug court?

In order to qualify for drug court, you must:

  • Be a non-violent offender
  • Have a substance abuse/addiction problem
  • Be willing to enter the program
  • Want to break free from addiction
  • Not have pending criminal charges

These requirements can vary depending on the specific court, but generally, all drug courts have similar requirements.

Purpose of drug courts

The primary goal of drug courts is to help individuals break free from addiction and therefore decrease criminal activity that is related to drug abuse.

For example, a person who steals to have money for drugs is a person who may not steal under other circumstances, and if they successfully graduate from drug court, they may never see the inside of a courtroom again or get in trouble with the law.

Drug courts focus on rehabilitation and teaching people how to live a different life because an addict’s life usually revolves around their need for drugs, so they must learn a different way of life. By focusing on helping these non-violent offenders break free from addiction, they can become productive members of society, which benefits not only them but society as a whole.

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