Major Projects

Use of MAT in Problem Solving Courts

Drug courts are an effective vehicle for providing treatment services for justice-involved individuals.  The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis recognized the value and drug courts and recommended the expansion given that only 44 percent of the counties have a drug court. The National Association of Drug Treatment Court reports that about 50 percent of the courts offer MAT (often required as part of federal funding) but few clients are using MAT (Walton, 2018).  Expanding the use of MAT in specialty courts is a priority of NADCP as well as a national priority of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (2018).  Providing MAT in community settings, for justice-involved clients or family dependency, is especially challenging given that few problem-solving courts provide medical services, few have treatment budgets, most rely upon local treatment resources, and partnerships are challenging (Taxman, et al., 2014; Taxman & Bouffard, 2000).  Surveys of problem solving courts and treatment providers have documented that few problem-solving courts have dedicated treatment services, and even though treatment staff are part of the problem-solving teams, appropriate treatment is not often available (Taxman, et al., 2018).  And, the use of MAT may be impacted by the knowledge and attitude of treatment and problem-solving court staff.  This administrative supplement will assist in understanding two issues: 1) the current utilization of MAT among problem solving courts; and 2) the barriers and facilitators to the utilization of MAT in problem solving court settings.

Key Staff: Faye S. Taxman, Ph.D. (George Mason University); James Witte, Ph.D. (George Mason University); Michael Gordon, Ph.D. (Friends Research Institute)

Funding Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, R01DA043476

Study Location(s): National

Major Goals:

The aims are:

  • Survey problem-solving courts to estimate the prevalence of access to MAT and the number of justice-involved individuals that use MAT as part of their problem-solving court experience;
  • From the perspective of community supervision/problem solving case manager and treatment providers that work directly with problem solving court participants, examine the service delivery issues related to using MAT regarding their own role and their experience in working with participants and their perspectives of the value of MAT in helping participants deal with recovery;
  • Assess the facilitators and barriers for access to and use of MAT for individuals with opioid and alcohol disorders in problem solving courts; and,
  • Conduct an exploratory analysis of the impact community-level resource attributes that affect the utilization of MAT by different types of problem solving courts.