What Is Court-Ordered Rehab For Teens?

When a teen gets into legal trouble and drugs or alcohol are involved, the courts may mandate that the teen attend rehab as part of their sentence. Often, this type of sentence is an alternative to serving jail time.

The goal of making treatment part of the sentence for a criminal offense is to help the teen rehabilitate. Through rehabilitation, teens will learn healthy coping skills and how to make better choices in the future. In turn, the hope is that treatment will decrease the chances of recidivism or repeated delinquent behavior.

Drug Court

The most common form of court-ordered treatment is known as drug court, which aims to help rehabilitate individuals with alcohol and substance use disorders who have committed a crime. Drug courts are rigorous programs set up within the court systems that help encourage long-term sobriety in addicted persons.

In 2014, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) saw an essential need for drug court programs geared toward teenagers, and they worked to design high-quality, effective substance abuse programs for this vulnerable population.

According to the OJJDP, “A juvenile drug treatment court (JDTC) is a specially designed court docket for youth with substance use disorders at medium to high risk for reoffending. It is intended to provide youth with specialized treatment and services. JDTCs were modeled after adult drug treatment courts, which have been shown to be effective for reducing recidivism and subsequent drug use in adults.”

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How Does Court-Ordered Rehab Work?

Court-ordered programs work just like typical treatment programs, with an individual going through detoxification and other necessary therapy treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and counseling. One exception is that the courts will often determine the length of time the individual will be required to attend the program. The courts will usually request regular updates on the individual’s progress in treatment and require random drug testing. If the person chooses to leave the program early, they will likely face jail time.

What Criteria Does Someone Have To Meet For Court-Ordered Rehab?

For an individual to be deemed eligible for court-ordered rehab, they would need to show signs of substance abuse or dependence. Typically, the person should not have committed any violent crime. Ultimately, the courts will determine if the individual will benefit from rehabilitation versus jail time.

How Effective Is Court-Ordered Teen Treatment?

Some people believe that court-ordered treatment is ineffective because the person is not attending of their own free will; however, many people who participate in court-ordered treatment learn from and embrace the experience over time. When given the choice to go to jail or attend rehab, most people will choose to attend rehab.

Research has shown that both voluntary and involuntary treatment programs teach life skills that encourage long-term sobriety, which helps people make better choices and live substance-free lifestyles.

How Do I Get My Teen To Go To Rehab?

When exploring the option of rehab, talking to your teen is always a good place to start. Since some teens are more resistant to their parents’ advice, it is sometimes best to defer to a close friend or family member who has been through rehab and is in long-term sobriety.

In some instances, families may choose to stage an intervention and bring in a professional. Treatment facilities often have trained counselors or other staff who can talk to your teen about the benefits of rehab.

It may also be helpful to remind the teen that the ultimate goal of court-ordered treatment is to help them recover from addiction but that there are also consequences to non-adherence. Once in a rehab program, the treatment facility will send regular updates to the courts regarding the person’s progress. If someone fails to complete court-ordered treatment, they could face jail time.

Who Pays For Court-Ordered Rehab?

It is usually the responsibility of the individual and their family to pay for treatment. If the teen is covered under health insurance, they can utilize it to cover the cost of treatment. In some circumstances, the courts may have funding sources to help with the cost of treatment, or the treatment facility may offer a sliding scale fee or other payment arrangements.

Interested In Rehab For Your Teen?

While the decision to put your teen into a rehab program may be hard, it’s important to remember that it is the first crucial step in recovery.

Contact a treatment provider today to explore rehab options and help start your teen on their journey toward an addiction-free future.