Guidelines for drug courts on screening and assessment

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This guideline is written to help drug courts develop effective policies, procedures, and techniques for screening and assessing treatment needs of drug court participants. This document describes the principles and methods of screening and assessment of adult drug court participants, and gives drug courts specific tools and information to establish and sustain screening and assessment processes. While much of the information here will be helpful for juvenile drug courts, specific guidance for juveniles should be obtained from other sources.3 Several key principles and strategies for conducting effective screening and assessment described in the guideline are derived from experiences of existing drug courts and other community-based substance abuse treatment programs for offenders. Several useful guidelines and monographs on screening and assessment for criminal justice and noncriminal justice populations are included as references in the back of this guideline. Readers interested in additional information on this subject are encouraged to use these resources. This publication is one of several technical assistance monographs for drug courts that the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, has developed. This document presents general issues related to screening and assessing drug court clients, describes the processes and elements of screening and assessment in detail, summarizes key issues for drug courts to consider as they screen and assess participants, and provides resource materials for those seeking additional information.