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ARTICLE SUMMARY: You may be eligible to go through a Mississippi drug court if you have been charged with a non-violent, non-felony drug or alcohol-related crime. This article explains more about the legal process for entering drug courts in Mississippi, what are they, and how these specialized courts help people change their lives.


What is a Drug Court?

Mississippi drug courts are special courts that handle cases involving drug use and related crime. The idea is that people respond better to treatment than to punishment. How do they work?

MS drug courts offer comprehensive supervision and connect people to treatment. A drug court usually orders drug testing and treatment services in phases. But if you violate the court orders, a drug court judge can use frequent and immediate sanctions to help you change for the better.

Mississippi drug courts vary from one jurisdiction to another in terms of structure, scope, and target populations, but they all share three primary goals:

  1. To reduce recidivism
  2. To reduce substance abuse among participants
  3. To rehabilitate participants

Participants undergo long-term treatment and counseling instead of incarceration. In fact, most people come to drug court with multiple problems. This is too much for any agency to handle alone. So, drug courts rely upon daily communication among many different government agencies. How do courts coordinate care?

Drug courts work best when judges, court personnel, probation officers, social workers, and treatment providers can cooperate closely. So, the state’s court model includes the 10 key components published by the Drug Court Program Office of the United States Department of Justice. [1] [2]

Mississippi’s Drug Court History

Drug courts begin when judges notice a community need. They are usually created when a judge observes that drug offenders keep appearing before the bench over and over again. This happened in Mississippi in the early 90’s. As drug-related offenses started filling Mississippi courts dockets, jails became overcrowded. Additionally, probation departments were overloaded.

Jailing people for drug crimes in Mississippi just didn’t make sense.

In the state of Mississippi, the first drug court began in Ridgeland in 1995. The drug court concept was so effective that it spread quickly. Four years later, the first felony drug court program was created by Judge Keith Starrett in the 14th Circuit Court district. By January 2003, there were seven drug court programs in the state of Mississippi and five more in the planning stages. [3]

In April of 2003, Senate Bill 2605 was signed into law by the governor. This new law allowed the creation of drug court programs statewide in Chancery, Circuit, County, Youth, Municipal or Justice courts. This law was codified as the Alice Griffin Clarke Drug Court Act, Mississippi Code § 9-23.

Drug courts help people get better. These programs save lives. If you have an addiction problem, a Mississippi drug court may be just what you need. But are you eligible, or not?

Drug Court Requirements and Eligibility in Mississippi

Once you have been identified as a substance abuser, you are going to be screened for drug court eligibility. Most people who go through drug court are nonviolent, initial offenders or probation violators. The most common drugs of abuse for these offenders are marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs. [4]

According to the Mississippi Code § 9-23-15, in order to be eligible for alternative sentencing, you must satisfy all of the following criteria. [5]

1. You cannot have an felony convictions for any violent crimes defined in MS Code § 97-3-2 in the past 10 years.

2. The crime before the court can’t be a crime of violence or a DUI charge that caused death.

3. The crime before the court cannot be drug trafficking outlined in MS Code § 41-29-139(f), nor can you have a prior conviction for same.

4. The crime before the court can’t be burglary of a dwelling under MS Code § 97-17-23(2) or MS Code § 97-17-37..

5. Other criminal proceedings alleging commission of a crime of violence cannot be pending against you.

NOTE HERE: Each local drug court program in Mississippi may establish other criteria in addition to these eligibility requirements.

Getting Started

How do you start a drug court program in Mississippi?

  1. After arrest, you should have a first appearance before a judge. During this time, a bond is set, if applicable. At the same time, you retain an attorney or you are appointed a Public Defender. The Defense Counsel will then recommend a Drug Court Coordinator or Probation Officer. The average length of time between arrest and first appearance in drug court is one to three weeks.
  2. Or, you might recommended to a MS drug court directly by Law Enforcement. Usually, Law Enforcement recommends you to an attorney, and then the attorney applies to Drug Court on your behalf.

STEP 1: Referral. If you are an initial felony offender, you can be referred to Mississippi Drug Court by law enforcement or the defense bar. Probation violators are referred to Drug Court by the probation officer. These third-parties complete referral forms on your behalf and fax them to the Drug Court for screening.

STEP 2: Screening. If you are out of custody at the time of referral, you will be contacted by the Drug Court Coordinator or the Probation Officer to report to their office for screening. If you are in jail waiting to be sentenced, the initial screening is done at the jail before they go to court.

STEP 3: Transfer. Screening results are reported to the drug court team. Then, you are required to appear in court to be sentenced to Drug Court. The time between arrest and first appearance in Drug Court is typically three to four weeks.

STEP 4: Assessment. You usually report to the treatment provider for assessment immediately after first appearance in drug court. Assessment starts in the the first two days and treatment starts in seven days from the day they are accepted into the program.

The Process

Each drug court in Mississippi works independently, so processes vary. Generally, you go through four basic phases of step-down treatment in drug court. The idea is that you’re gradually given more freedom of choice the longer you stay in the program. To move from phase to phase, you must have the consensus and positive feedback from the entire Drug Court Team.

Most Mississippi Drug Court Programs usually lasts one to two years. It depends on how well you deal with the structure that is added to your life. Normally, you are going to be required to be in court on a biweekly basis.

Be sure to arrive on time and stay for the entire drug court session. Many drug courts have implemented dress codes for court attendance.

What can you expect in terms of phases?

PHASE 1: In the first phase of drug court, treatment begins. You will be required to submit random urine testing, minimum twice a week. Also you will also have to make a daily call to your Drug Court Program Coordinator or Probation Officer. Expect to attend ninety alcoholics or narcotics anonymous meetings in ninety days. Weekly written assignments will also be required. You’ll need to attend Drug Court Sessions every Monday at Noon.

PHASE 2: In the second phase, you’ll need to seek and maintain employment. Or, you’ll be expected to enroll in school working toward a vocation. Substantial progress toward obtaining a GED is also mandated, as it is necessary. You will also be required to begin and complete the payment of your fines and court fees. Four alcoholics or narcotics anonymous meetings will be required a week. During this phase, you continue your weekly appearance before the judge, weekly writing assignments, and submission of twice weekly urine screens.

PHASE 3: In this phase of MS drug court, requirements include attending two Drug Court Sessions each month and 2-3 urine tests each month. You need to complete your GED during this time, if need be. You must also attend three support group meetings and one aftercare meeting per week. Another requirement is to participate in the Drug Court Relapse Prevention Panel, to provide advice to others in the program.

PHASE 4: In the last phase of drug court in Mississippi, status reports must be submitted on a monthly basis to the court. However, you no longer need to appear before the judge in Drug Court Sessions. However, drug tests will be planned on a random basis. You’ll be given encouragement to attend 3 support group meetings and 1 aftercare meeting per week. In addition to your participation on the Drug Court Relapse Prevention Panel, you are invited to begin participating in a Drug Court alumni Group.


If you are a part of a Mississippi drug court program, you must follow all rules and regulations of treatment. The addiction treatment program coordinated through drug court includes weekly treatment meetings, weekly 12-step meetings such as AA or NA meetings, and frequent and random drug testing.  If you are not doing well, the judge may order increased drug testing, more meeting attendance, a short jail time, or other creative graduated sanctions.

Mississippi drug court judges may order one or combination of more of the following services:

  • 12-step programs
  • Addiction treatment
  • Budgeting
  • Continued education services
  • General Educational Development
  • Human resources development
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Inpatient treatment
  • Literacy classes
  • Parenting classes
  • Vocational rehabilitation

These are most common services available to many county programs. A case manager supervises your overall treatment, helping you stay on track. The case manager assists with referrals to other agencies to help meet your education, employment and other needs.


As said before, being accepted into a Mississippi drug court means you must attend all meetings and court sessions and always be on time. But, what happens if you don’t?

Failure to appear in court may result in a warrant for your arrest.

Abstinence from alcohol and other drugs is an ongoing requirement. So, if you fail to comply with rules of the program, it will result in the imposition of immediate consequences.

You may also be terminated from Drug Court through voluntary withdrawal, new felony charges, or tampered urine screens. Furthermore, no drugs, alcohol or weapons are allowed. If your behavior disrupts the treatment of others in the program, you will be removed from the program.  In simple words, not complying with the program’s rules and guidelines gets you out of the drug court treatment program.

Mississippi Drug Court Statistics

In 2017, Mississippi drug courts in Mississippi served more than 5,250 people. The numbers included graduates, people currently enrolled and also those who unfortunately did not successfully complete the program. [6]

But generally, drug courts help people change their lives!

  • Mississippi operated 42 drug treatment programs in 2017.
  • Mississippi drug courts reported 757 graduates in 2017.
  • 980 unemployed people found jobs through MS drug courts in 2017.
  • Participants worked over 27K+ hours of community service in 2017.

If you’re facing a drug or alcohol-related crime sentence, a drug court can help! To learn more, seek help from an attorney. Or, you can call us 24/7 to talk about addiction. We know addiction. We believe in treatment.

Completing Mississippi Drug Court

Successful completion of the treatment program and requirements of the Mississippi drug court result in:

  • Dismissal of the charges
  • Reduced or set aside sentences
  • Lesser penalties

…or a combination of these. Furthermore, if you were sentenced and plead guilty, successful completion of the drug court order and other requirements of probation or suspension of sentence will result in the record of the criminal conviction or adjudication being expunged.

But, most importantly, graduating participants gain the necessary tools to rebuild their own lives.

Your Questions

We tried to offer you a close look into Mississippi’s drug court system. But, if you still have questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below.

Reference Sources: [1] State of Mississippi Judiciary: Drug Courts
[2] U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Assistance Defining Drug Courts: THE KEY COMPONENTS
[3] The University of Southern Mississippi: Therapeutic Jurisprudence: An Examination of Mississippi Drug Courts
[4] Justice Programs Office: Policies and Procedures Manual
[5] State of Mississippi Supreme Court: Mississippi Drug Court Rules
[6] State of Mississippi Judiciary: Supreme Court Annual Report – Mississippi Supreme Court
State of Mississippi: Review of the Feasibility of Extending Drug Courts Statewide in Mississippi
Mississippi Drug Court Advisory Committee: Progress Report on Mississippi Drug Courts
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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: A visual representation that outlines basic detection periods for alprazolam on blood, saliva, urine, and hair based tests. You’ll learn average lengths of time of alprazolam stay in your system. Plus, you’ll learn about the factors that can influence metabolism.


Drug Basics

Drug Name: Xanax, main ingredient alprazolam
Drug Class: Depressants/Sedatives/Hypnotics
Street Names: Xannies, Zannies, Z-Bars

Xanax, also known by its generic name alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medication. It is a central nervous system depressant that slows down brain activity and produces feeling of drowsiness, calmness, and relaxation. [1]

Xanax is usually prescribed as a tablet, but it can also come in a liquid form. It is classified as Schedule IV controlled substance by the DEA. Xanax’s active ingredient, alprazolam, can be habit-forming and users may become dependent on the medication. [2]

Use Statistics

Xanax is a popular and commonly prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States. Many Americans use Xanax for medical purposes, and many of them start misusing and get addicted. Also, there are people who take it recreationally, to get high. Just how many people?

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were 17,926,000 Americans who were using alprazolam, which accounts for 6.6% of the total U.S. population. Over 700K of them were teens, almost 3M were young adults between the ages 18-25.

More than 14M adult Americans took Xanax in 2017.

Also, about 4,165,000 Americans abused Xanax last year. Abuse can be seen among all age groups. 407K U.S. teens, over 1.6M young adults and over 2 million adults in U.S. took Xanax other than prescribed. [3]

Why Drug Test?

There are many reasons why someone will need a drug test. An employer may require it for a job position, or a court may order it for legal reasons. Athletes may be tested for drug use. People in rehab are also regularly tested in planned testing or random testing situations. Emergency rooms drug test in cases of injury or overdose. Also, your prescribing doctor may ask you for drug testing as part of your treatment.

Detection Window

Whatever the reasons, it’s good to know the basic detection windows for Xanax and to be prepared for what test results can be. Most drug tests are positive if you’re testing within the detection window for the specific type of test. What’s a detection window?

The period of time from the last dose of alprazolam until it’s detected in your system is called a drug’s detection window. 

So, how long does alprazolam stay in your system? On average, the half-life of Xanax is 12 hours. But, Xanax half-life can be anywhere between 6-20 hours. Still, detection windows for alprazolam vary between individuals. The detection window also depends upon the drug test that is used. Here are some general guidelines for Xanax detection by type of drug test sample:

Urine: Urinalysis can usually detect Xanax for up to 5 days after the last use.
Saliva: These types of tests detect the presence of Xanax up to 60 hours after the last intake.
Blood: The detection period for Xanax in a blood tests is about 24 hours.
Hair: Xanax can be detected up to 90 days in hair follicle drug tests.

Have in mind that drug detection times in urine, blood, hair, and saliva are in average and can vary greatly from person to person. You should use this information as a general guide only.

Influence Factors

Many factors can influence the presence of alprazolam in the system. Some of them include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Weight
  • Diet and use of fluids
  • Frequency and length of use
  • Overall health
  • Liver and kidney function
  • Metabolism
  • Physical activity

In general, younger people eliminate toxins faster. Also, people with slower metabolism will have Xanax longer in their system. Moreover, any liver or kidney impairment can slower the elimination period.

Any Questions?

We hope that you find this infographic educational and helpful. If you still have any questions about Xanax detection timelines, we welcome your questions and comments in the section below. We’ll try to answer your questions personally and promptly. Feel free to share a personal story and tell others your drug screening experience.

Moreover, if you or somone you love is battling Xanax dependence don’t hesitate to ask for support. Our caring admissions navigators are available 24/7 to discuss treatment options. Reach out today.

Reference Sources: [1] FDA: XANAX Label
[2] DEA: Drug Scheduling
[3] SAMSHA: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables
Addiction Blog: Xanax half-life: how long does Xanax stay in your system
SAMSHA: Clinical Drug Testing in Primary Care
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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Methadone is administered as part of Narcotic Treatment Programs in Texas. Combined with counseling and talk therapies, the medicine can offer numerous benefits for people addicted to opiates. We review more about the process of receiving methadone and where to find it in Texas here.


What is Narcotic Treatment?

The State of Texas calls use of methadone for addiction “narcotic treatment”.  It’s a form of medication assisted treatment. During narcotic treatment, you take prescribed medications in combination with counseling and talk therapy to treat opiate or opioid use disorder.

So, what is methadone? How does it work?

Methadone is a synthetic, long-acting opioid that works by acting on the brain receptors. It “covers” nerve receptors so that if you take strong drugs, you don’t get high. In the same way, methadone can dull withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. It is a Schedule II controlled substance…which means that it is habit forming and has the potential for possible addiction if not used as directed. [1]

Public health officials consider medication assisted treatment one of many solutions that can help the growing number of people in the U.S. addicted to opioids. However, use of methadone is controversial. While it can be essential, some people abuse it. That’s why this type of treatment shouldn’t be limited to medicines. Other services include case management and referrals to help with lifestyle changes.

How Methadone Clinics in Texas Work

Narcotic Treatment Programs in Texas are specialized medical clinics that use methadone or buprenorphine to help people reduce or quit their use of heroin or pain killer drugs. It is illegal to use methadone without a prescription, to sell or give it to someone else. There are also laws against forging or altering a prescription or making false representation to obtain methadone or a prescription for the drug. [2]

So, how do methadone clinics in Texas works?

STEP 1: Screening

You won’t be processed for admission as a patient of a methadone clinic until you have been determined eligible to enter an narcotic treatment program. So, you will be screened by a health care professional to see if you meet the criteria. Exception to this screening phase include pregnant women, patients who have resided in a penal or chronic care institution for one month or longer, and patients who have had two documented attempts at short-term detoxification or drug-free treatment.

The screening process can include a history of your drug use, a medical history, psychological and sociological background questions, educational and vocational achievements, current mental status, and a physical examination. Also, you should be 18 or older with moderate to severe opioid use disorder for at least 12 months in order to qualify to receive methadone.

STEP 2: Admission and Initial Evaluation

After it’s been determined that you meet the criteria for admission, you will be evaluated by the medical director or program physician and clinical staff trained and qualified to perform assessments. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if methadone treatment is the most appropriate treatment for you. The evaluation usually includes an assessment of your medical, psychosocial, educational, and vocational needs.

STEP 3: Drug Testing

Before receiving methadone, you will have to submit an initial drug test. For the first year of treatment, you will have to submit random drug tests each month, and eight random drug abuse tests yearly afterward.

STEP 4: Treatment Planning

Based on the initial screening and evaluation, your primary counselor will create an individualized treatment plan. The treatment plan will be reviewed at least once each 90 days during the first year of treatment, and at least twice a year thereafter. Planning will include a dosing schedule and outline recommended prescription use. You’ll also be encouraged to seek counseling or talk therapy at the same time you are taking methadone.

Dosing and length of treatment

Typically, most people go to a methadone clinic on a daily basis, six days a week. How long treatment will last is different for each patient, but for methadone maintenance, 12 months is considered the minimum. Some people use methadone for many years. The cost of treatment will be based on your income and expenses, and you may need to pay for some services. If you comply with the rules of the program, you may be allowed a certain quantity of take-home doses. [3]


Counseling and behavioral therapies are an essential part of a Narcotic Treatment Program. They can help you reach stability faster and become a productive member of society. They can help you focus on relapse prevention, gain control over your life and learn to live a drug-free life. Individual and group therapies, family and couples counseling are just some of the services you may be offered.

Regulation of Methadone

In order to ensure the safety of patients and the quality of services, the state of Texas has set up numerous laws and regulations that outline how methadone should be used. The Narcotic Treatment Section of the Patient Quality Care Unit is responsible for regulating and inspecting methadone clinics in Texas. There are currently 75 maintenance programs in Texas that treat around 11,000 opiate-addicted patients.

There are few things you should consider if you are enrolling in a Narcotic Treatment Program in Texas. If you become a patient at a methadone clinic, you should be informed of your rights. Here are some basic principles to keep in mind.

1. Every narcotic treatment program in Texas must have a state permit issued by the Texas Department of Health and a federal permit issued by the SAMSHA and the DEA. If you want to make sure that a specific narcotic treatment clinic in Texas has a license, check the directory of narcotic treatment clinics.

2. Your patient confidentiality is protected by federal law.

3. Methadone clinics in Texas are required to provide or offer referrals to their patients. These services include social and human services, mental health services, educational and vocational services, family counseling, and HIV/AIDS counseling, prevention, and risk-reduction education.

4. In Texas, the patient-staff ratio needs to be a maximum of 50 patients for each counselor. Texas allows an increase in the ratio under certain circumstances. But if you don’t feel that you’re receiving the attention that you need, file a complaint on the hotline number below.

5. Methadone should be administered or dispensed in oral form by a certified health care professional.

If you believe that any TX State methadone clinic is not following the state regulations you may file a complaint. Complaints may be mailed, faxed or delivered by phone via the complaint hotline.

Submit a Complaint against a Texas Methadone Facility

Texas Laws and Rules

Narcotic clinics in Texas are tightly regulated. There are numerous state and federal laws that govern the prescription and dispensing of methadone. Also, there are laws that regulate how narcotic treatment clinics work. Here are some of the most important ones:

Title 42, Chapter I, Subchapter A, Part 8: The Certification of Opioid Treatment Programs, Code of Federal Regulations governs the treatment of opiate and opioid addiction with FDA-approved medications. This law outlines the system created to accredit and certify opioid treatment programs that prescribe methadone. In this law, patients must receive counseling and behavioral therapies in addition to methadone. [4]

Texas Administrative Code: Chapter 229 Subchapter J Minimum Standards for Narcotic Treatment Programs: This subsection of the Texas Administrative Code provides the minimum standards for the establishment and operation of a narcotic treatment program in Texas. It outlines the state and federal regulations, program application procedures, program fees, program operations, and enforcement procedures. [5]

Texas Health & Safety Code, Chapter 466: The purpose of this Chapter is outlining the regulation of narcotic drug treatment programs, and ensuring the proper use of approved narcotic drugs in the treatment of persons with a narcotic dependency. [6]

Texas Methadone Doctors

You can’t just go to a doctor in Texas and get a dose of methadone. By law, methadone is administered or dispensed in oral form in a licensed narcotic program only. Further, the law requires that the physician responsible for prescribing and supervision of methadone is licensed to practice medicine and has worked in the field of addiction medicine a minimum of one year. [7]

The clinic is there to ensure your safety. And methadone should be administered in a way that reduces the potential for abuse.

In Texas, methadone can be prescribed and taken only under the supervision of a physician via a licensed narcotic treatment programs.

How can you find a methadone prescribing doctor in Texas? You can find all state and federally licensed programs that offer methadone treatment through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMSHA. Check out treatment centers who are authorized to offer patients methadone in the State of Texas in the following link.

SAMHSA OTP Treatment Directory for Texas.

State Sponsored Methadone Clinics in Texas

Texas is home to a number of private and public narcotic clinics that provide methadone. Public clinics are state-funded and usually have a longer waiting list than the private ones. So, what benefits exist to help people who are in need of financial aid?

If you want to receive coverage for methadone, federal law mandates that you are enrolled in, or have documented proof of, substance use disorder counseling.

Then, Texas Medicaid covers methadone under Fee-For-Service (FFS) and Managed Care (MC) plans. Methadone is listed as a medical and pharmacy benefit under both FFS and MC plans. Methadone also appears on the preferred drug list under both FFS and MC plans and is covered for use in accredited outpatient narcotic treatment programs under both plans.

There are a number of free narcotic clinics that support people trying to overcome opioid addiction. Texas Department of State Health Services’ website provides a list of licensed state-sponsored narcotic treatment facilities.

Texas Methadone for Veterans

Addiction is quite common for U.S. war veterans. Many veterans suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Using drugs and alcohol can be a way of coping with the memory of past events.

If you’re a veteran suffering from opioid addiction, you can seek help from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In order to apply, you’ll need your most recent tax return, social security numbers for yourself and your qualified dependents, and account numbers for any current health insurance.

Through this organization, you can find a number of treatment services and receive medically managed detoxification as well as drug substitution therapies like methadone. Counseling and other behavioral therapies may also be a part of your methadone treatment.

If you are interested, you can apply to receive VA health care online, by phone, by mail, or in person. In general, in a week or less, your application should be approved. Once you get the approval you’ll need to find a VA facility in Texas and start treatment with methadone. For a listing of VA centers in Texas, check out the Texas VA Directory here.

The Drug Epidemic in Texas

In Texas, the opioid crisis is a public health emergency. It affects people from all generations and socioeconomic status. In fact, almost half of all drug overdose deaths in Texas involve opioids. As a response, the Texas Department of State Health Services has developed two strategies in order to address opioid misuse. [8]

These include:

  1. Improving surveillance. The Department of State Health Services has started using health data in real time collected from hospitals, emergency centers, and urgent care providers, to look for early warning signs of overdose. Healthcare providers has also started reporting overdoses involving controlled substances to the state.
  2. Expanding prevention through education and training. Texas has started naloxone overdose education, buprenorphine waiver training, and maternal opioid misuse prevention.

The goal of these initiatives is to establish safety guidelines in hospitals for recognizing opioid misuse and enhancing care for women with opioid use disorder, during and after pregnancy.

The following statistics taken from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, will give you an insight into the Texas opioid epidemic:

  • Texan physicians wrote 53.1 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons in 2017.
  • In Texas, 1,458 overdose deaths involving opioids were reported in 2017.
  • Deaths involving fentanyl tripled from 118 in 2007 to 348 deaths in 2017.
  • There were 569 heroin-involved overdose deaths in 2017

Even in light of these figures, Texas continues to have one of the lowest rates of drug overdose deaths involving opioids in the country. The implementation of the strategies is expected to decrease these numbers even further. [9]

Methadone Saves Lives

Can methadone help?


Methadone can save your life. It keeps you stable enough that you can make positive changes in your life. Methadone therapy will reduce or help you to avoid health problems such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, skin infections and vein problems.

If it is part of a comprehensive treatment program, methadone treatment is more likely to be successful. Usually, treatment includes a combination of counseling, alternative therapies and the development of a positive support network of peers, friends and a support group. Work with a physician or a counselor to find the best approach that addresses your needs.

If you are struggling with opioid addiction, know that you are not alone. With the right addiction treatment program, you can achieve a lot. If you need help finding the right treatment center in Texas or would like more information on narcotic programs, we invite you to give us a call today. Our admission navigators are available 24/7.

Reference Sources: [1] SAMSHA: Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
[2] Texas Department of State Health Services: Narcotic Treatment Clinics
[3] Texas Department of State Health Services: Laws and Rules – Narcotic Treatment Clinics
[5] Texas Administrative Code: Chapter 229 Subchapter J Minimum Standards for Narcotic Treatment Programs:
[7] Texas Administrative Code: CHAPTER 163. LICENSURE 
[8] Texas Department of State Health Services: Public Health Response to the Opioid Crisis
[9] NIDA: Texas Opioid Summary
ASAM: Medicaid Coverage of Medications for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder
Texas Department of State Health Services: Adult Substance Use Medication-Assisted Treatment
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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Traveling for rehab is a personal choice. There are pros and cons. What are the unique benefits of traveling for rehab to Rhode Island? We review here.


Why Travel for Rehab

Finding a rehab that fits your personal needs might require that you move from your home state. In fact, completely changing completely your environment to break free from addiction can help you a lot! First of all, you’ll avoid triggers more easily. You’ll be far from dealers, bars,or people that you were using with. Plus, you’ll avoid the things that remind you of addiction.

Second, traveling to Rhode Island can make you more committed to your recovery. You’ll necessarily put your life on hold. A new environment can push you more quickly towards the “new you”.

But why Rhode Island, particular?

A stay in a good rehab can help you focus 100% on your recovery. Programs like those operated by American Addiction Centers provide 24/7 medical care along with talk therapy. Plus, you will be able to uncover the underlying issues behind addiction. Educational sessions on addiction can help you understand how this disease works. Finally, you will get the chance to rebuild your social and family relationships.

Traveling to another state can be expensive, but there are many ways cut expenses. What you need is to plan ahead. This article can help you set a budget to anticipate the real cost of living in Rhode Island. More here on cost of living,  types of accommodations, and what can you expect when you sign up for rehab in RI.

PROs and CONs

Whenever you’re traveling for treatment, you should always consider the good and the bad. Be sure that the treatment center sets up customized treatment plans and uses evidence-based therapy. Here, we offer you some more practical PROs and CONs to consider if you’re planning to travel to Rhode Island for rehab.

PRO #1. Change in scene. Distancing yourself from your everyday routine can help you see life more objectively. Without distractions, you can go deeper. Moving away from your triggers can be crucial when going through treatment. A new environment can help keep you on track, which essential in the recovery process.

PRO #2. Increased dedication. Rehab is voluntary. But, the fact that you have traveled for miles to get into a treatment center will increase your sense of responsibility and commitment.  Basically, an out of state rehab can give you a positive attitude towards treatment.

PRO #3. Privacy and confidentiality. Are you worried about being judged or facing professional issues if someone finds out you went to rehab? Being away in Rhode Island for rehab will make it less likely to be recognized and will guarantee your privacy. Plus, it may be easier to open up about your problems in front of strangers. Meeting new people with similar experiences can help you feel supported.

PRO #4. A fresh start. The goal of rehab is to start over. Rhode Island can be a great place to begin a new way of living. Traveling for rehab means you’re giving yourself the chance to start a new life and rediscover yourself.

CON #1. Distance from family. Addiction recovery is difficult. Many people need the support of their loved ones to get through. In fact, when family members are involved in the process, the rates of dropping out of treatment decrease significantly. However, recovery is an internal process. Distance from family can be a good thing.

CON #2. Fear of the unfamiliar. Getting sober means facing your fears and overcoming your fears. Fear of getting better, fear of the unknown, fear of letting go of old destructive habits, fear of change. But, you mustn’t let fear stand on your way. Once you face your fears you’ll feel liberated and more confident. Learn more about the programs available in various substance abuse treatment centers in Rhode Island. Get in touch with people who succeeded. You can do it.

CON #3. Cost. Transportation, accommodation, or the cost of other basic necessities can hit your pocket. But, if you weigh your options you can see that there is nothing more important than investing in your health and future. We’ve outlined the main costs of traveling to Rhode Island outlined below. Also, there are treatment centers that include travel expenses in the cost of treatment. Call us now so we can discuss treatment options. We offer a 90-day guarantee. This way, you can be assured of successful outcomes.

CON #4. Legal issues. Certain legal restrictions may complicate going to rehab in another state. However, with the help of your lawyer, you may ask the drug courts and the judges to authorize your traveling for rehab to Rhode Island.

Visiting a Loved One in Rehab

Visiting a loved one in Rhode Island rehab can be more than welcomed. Support is one of the most important things for someone going through rehab. But, you should know what to expect and prepare yourself for the visit. Usually, rehabs organize visits after 2-3 weeks of residency. Visits may be limited to weekends or weekday afternoons. Take the invitation, even if it’s just once. Your visit may mean the world to your loved one.

But keep your visit positive and directed on good mental health. If you can’t think of anything positive to say, just stick to small talk like sports, news, and the weather. Or, give them praise. Keep in mind that rehab is a difficult time for them and they need a little bit of encouragement that they get can go a long way.

Then, check the rehab’s visiting policy. Residential treatment centers are very strict with visiting policies. Make sure you always arrive on time and follow the process. These rules are made to help your loved ones get better, so try to respect them.

Finally, plan to meet with staff. They are important part of your loved one’s treatment plan and recovery progress. Rehab staff usually have a lot to share with you. They can give you advice going forward, because they know what is really happening. Also, they are seeing your loved ones for who they really are and they can help you understand them a little bit more.

What NOT to do?

1. Never get into big discussions. Leave the family drama at home. Treatment is about breaking the chains of addiction, not about discussion something negative. These talks won’t help the recovery process. In fact, they could add extra anxiety.

2. Never discuss the cost of treatment. Rehab costs money. This is not a secret to keep, but reminding your loved one how much they’ve spent, it may trigger unwanted feelings including guilt and shame.

3. Never discuss weight. People who are in treatment usually gain weight. But discussing their figure may raise embarrassment which can lead to negative reactions.

4. No jokes, nor sarcasm. During the stay at rehab, most people are sensitive and emotional. Usually, they have question how they ended there. So, making jokes or giving sarcastic comments is not an option. Instead, show support and encouragement about their progress.

5. Avoid talk about the future. The idea behind the recovery is to teach you to ‘live in the moment’, day to day, one day at a time. Making plans about the future can create a lot of pressure for your loved one.

Travel to and from Rhode Island

There are several ways you can travel to get to Rhode Island form anywhere in the country. Depending on where you live you can choose to go either by car, by bus or by plane.

Car: If you want to know how much a trip to by car Rhode Island will cost, you can check AAA’s calculator for more information. It calculates and compares gas prices depending on where you are in the country.

Bus: You can choose from several bus companies that offer services. Book tickets and check schedules on the Greyhound bus schedule.

Train: Trains can be fun. There are different options you can choose. For more information on prices, routes and scheduling check Amtrak.

Airplane: Airplane prices may vary depending on whether or not you are flying during a low or high season. For example, you can expect prices to be much more expensive during the holidays or weekends. All of the following prices for plane tickets are based on round trip searches made in 2019:

New York ↔ Providence RI: $240
Chicago IL↔ Providence RI: $150
Los Angeles CA ↔ Providence RI: $300
Tampa FL ↔ Providence RI: $270
Las Vegas NV ↔Providence RI: $290
Atlanta GA ↔ Providence RI: $250

Average Cost of Living in Rhode Island

The following prices are compared to the United States’ National Average:

 Cost of living Rhode Island United States
 Overall  119.4  100
 Grocery  105.7  100
 Health  80.1  100
 Housing  143.8  100
 Median Home Cost  $269,000  $216,200
 Utilities  115.9  100
 Transportation  120.8  100.0
 Miscellaneous  109.8  100.0
Short Term Rentals

If you’re going to Rhode Island for rehab, you will probably be placed in the treatment facility itself.

If you’re visiting a loved one you’ll need to find a place for short term stay. The average prices for apartment rent in 2017 differentiate depending on the location. Some towns are more affordable than others. For instance, average price for rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Rhode Island was $1,385. More precisely, Foster, Glocester, Exeter, Richmond, West Greenwich and Little Compton all average $944 per month in rent for a two-bedroom apartment. At the top of the list in monthly rent is Jamestown at $1,932 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. Providence comes in at $1,357 per month.

For shorter period stays you can visit the site Airbnb and find a location and price that suits you best.


When you book a hotel online, it’s important to be located near places you want to visit. Also, pay attention for hidden fees and special deals. Finally, we suggest that you read visitor’s recommendations to learn about how the hotel can suit your needs.

If you’re planning on staying in Providence, the average price for a hotel room per weeknight is $150 and for weekend night $200. The most expensive time to stay is September, while the cheapest month to stay is November. Hotel prices in Warwick are averaging around $100 for weeknight and weekend nights. The most expensive time to stay is August, while the cheapest month to stay is March. In North Kingstown, the average price for a hotel room per weeknight is $100 and for weekend night $120. The most expensive time to stay is August, while the cheapest month to stay is June.

Other Places to Stay

If you are looking for other cheaper places to stay you can consider short-term, cheaper stays in a hostel. The positive side of staying in a hostel that you can meet new people. However, hostels are not so clean and you’ll have limited personal space and lack of privacy.

The cheapest option may be visiting relatives or friends. If you have someone close in Rhode Island you should consider reaching out to them. It can be a good experience catching up with someone you haven’t seen in a while. The downside of this kind of stay may be that you won’t have much privacy and you’ll have to synchronize your period of staying with their availability.

The Statistics

Feel alone?

The fact is that you’re not alone in your battle with addiction. According to the 2018 NSDUH, it’s estimated that 11.2 percent of the nation’s population used illicit drugs in 2017. That’s 1 in 9 people, or 30.5 million. Out the 30.5 million people, an estimated 20.7 million were in need of substance abuse treatment. That is 1 in 13 people. [1]

In Rhode Island in particular, between 2014-2015 about 63,000 individuals aged 12 or older or 7.0% of all individuals in this age group had an alcohol use disorder in the past year. In a single-day count in 2015, 14,269 individuals in Rhode Island were enrolled in substance use treatment. [2] Among those individuals in Rhode Island enrolled in substance use treatment in a single-day count in 2015:

  • 34.0% were in treatment for a drug problem only;
  • 20.5% were in treatment for an alcohol problem only;
  • 45.5% were in treatment for both drug and alcohol problems.

As you can see, many people are actively looking for help.

If you’re struggling with addiction, it’s important to seek treatment. Enrolling into a treatment facility increases your chances of recovery. Call our helpline and learn more about your treatment options. Our admission navigators are available to talk with you day and night. They are waiting for your call …why not make a change today?

Your Questions

Beating addiction is a long and difficult process. It takes courage, careful planning, and professional help. A good program will address the root of your addiction, and teach you how to live a drug-free life.

Still have questions?

Give us a call. Or, leave us a comment. We try to answer all questions related to rehab in Rhode Island personally and promptly. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section below. If we do not know the answer to your question, we will refer you to someone who can help.

Reference sources: [1] SAMSHA: NADUH 2017 Annual National Report
[2] SAMSHA: Behavioral Health Barometer for Rhode Island, Volume 4
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ARTICLE SUMMARY: Are you a young person in early recovery? Take note! You need to know when to avoid a party. But when you’re ready to hit the scene, practice these refusal lines. More here.


  • Night Life
  • Can I Party?
  • Common Triggers
  • The Cycle of Craving
  • Refusing an Offer
  • Alternative Partying
Night Life in Addiction Recovery

Leaving old habits behind might be challenging and tricky. If you used to mix alcohol with drugs, it can be really uncomfortable to go out again. Can night life ever really be the same? If you’re in recovery, you actually might want to pass it up for a while.


Being near the scene can be dangerous. Just exposing yourself to triggers can lead you to relapse. If you are in treatment, it’s highly advisable you stay away from direct triggers. Sounds. Smells. Images. These are the things that can jeopardize the effort and progress on your road to reaching and maintaining sobriety.

So how do you party when in recovery? Is it possible to have a good time without the influence of drugs and/or alcohol?

Of course you can.  Keep reading further to find out how to protect yourself when the environment and people around you act as a temptation. Plus, read about alternative fun activities that do not include the use of alcohol and drugs. All your questions and/or personal experiences about partying without mixing alcohol and drugs are welcomed at the end.

Can I Party In Drug And Alcohol Addiction Recovery?


Recovery programs exist to teach addicts that sobriety is not boring! On the contrary, recovery opens up a lot of new opportunities. You just need to learn and practice some alternatives to bring you fun and joy without exposing yourself to danger.

Q: Who should refrain from partying?
A: If going out endangers your recovery, maybe you should stay home.

At least for now.


Common Triggers

When you make a decision to quit mind-altering drugs, some situations are just not healthy. Seeing a set of friends who look like they are having fun. Or, hearing the sound a lighter hit glass. Or, listening to that song that brings back nostalgia and a desire to get high.

These are all triggers that might set off a desire for you to reach out for drugs and alcohol again.

Theoretically, there are two types of triggers:

1. Internal triggers, which usually manifest themselves as negative feelings.
2. External triggers, that include people, places, things, and situations that provoke you to get back to your old substance abusive behaviors after a period of abstinence.

When you are in early addiction recovery, you’ve just started developing a sober lifestyle. You aren’t quite used to feeling subtler emotions. We who are in recovery have all been through it.  You’re used to getting high…and dealing with the lows. But, we just don’t have healthy habits ingrained into our brain pattern yet.

So, it’s best to avoid:

1. Parties at clubs where you used to drink alcohol or use drugs.
2. Acquaintances that still drink and take drugs.
3. Visiting places while you are in an emotional period where drugs and alcohol are expected to be present.

In fact, a night out can be super confusing. While it can be a learning experience, you need to be in a really stable place in early recovery. This is because hitting the night life can make you feel vulnerable. It might even lower your enthusiasm for change, or impact your self-esteem…both of which eventually may increase the possibility of relapse.

The Cycle of Craving

So, here’s a little deeper explanation into why you might want to wait. I’m not suggesting that you not have fun. I’m just saying that changing the way you have fun can be worth it.

Addiction triggers involve high-risk situations. They are viewed as stressors that spark a thought, feeling, or action which makes you desire drugs/alcohol over and over again. When a trigger strikes in you get a sudden and unexpected urge to use again, it’s called a “craving”. In short, addiction triggers usually lead you to cravings and cravings stimulate your urges to use.

This is why one of the main focuses of rehab is to teach you to become more aware of your specific triggers. Once you identify the trigger, you can learn how to control the sequence of events. Perhaps you can avoid the trigger totally. Or, you can learn how to change your related thought pattern. Or, maybe you intervene on the behavior-level.

This is possible only through education. If you learn successful craving or coping management skills, you’ll necessarily learn techniques for fighting craving in recovery.

Refusing an Offer

Learning to say NO takes a little practice. Relapse prevention tips and refusal lines are taught during every addiction treatment program. But we’ve noticed that you need to actually practice these lines BEFORE you’re in a tight spot. Here are some suggestions about what you can say/do in different situations.

1. First, go to events where there are no drugs and alcohol.

2. Second, connect with friends who support your decision not to use drugs. Ask for support from these friends when others become pushy in their offerings.

3. When in a problematic situation, make an excuse to leave. Just get out of there.

When you are offered with drugs or alcohol, use definitive refusal lines such as:

  • I’m good.
  • No, thank you.
  • I can’t.
  • I have some medical issues right now.
  • I pass.

I made the mistake in early recovery of trying to “explain it all”. No one who’s using wants to hear why you’re not using. They just want you to join them so that they can feel less alone.

So, the bottom line is that you don’t feel like you need to explain yourself. No one needs to “get it.” They probably don’t want to.

Alt Partying

The sober community has many members. Most of us know what it’s like to wake up the next morning, blacked out. But just because we’re not using doesn’t mean that we’ve lost the will to have fun. Recovery is about building a new life, one that drugging and drinking parties are not a part of any more.

If you want an alternative way to party, think about hosting your friends at your house. You can be the host of a sober party. You don’t need to socialize with just people in recovery. But make sure people know that substances are off limits.

Some people like board games. Other people just party around food and music. Still others meet and then go to an event together. Whatever. Just get some people together and find something you all like to do. Talk to people at the party and connect. That’s more than a party; that’s creating a community.

Or, find hobbies that don’t involve alcohol/drugs but are still entertaining such as: table sports, darts, card games, going to the zoo, or to the movies. Dancing is one of most recommended ways lifting your mood.

Finally, be prepared. If you’re going to an event where psychoactive substance will be present…resolve to:

  • Choose mocktails instead of cocktails.
  • Use your refusal lines.
  • Plan an escape if temptations gets too great.
Your Questions

At some point, mixing alcohol and drugs gets old. It leads you down that same dead end.

But maybe you have questions about what you’ve just read. Maybe you have an experience to share? Feel free to leave your comments below. Me and my team will make sure to get back to you with a personal and prompt response.

Reference sources: Dr. Chad Coren: TRIGGERS OF ADDICTION
Girl’s Health: Ways to say “no” to drugs
NIH: Building your drink refusal skills
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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: If you are expecting a drug test for Valium, the brand name for diazepam, check out this infographic. We review detection times for Valium in urine, blood, hair and saliva. Plus, factors that influence it.


Drug Basics

Drug Name: Valium, main ingredient diazepam
Drug Class: Depressants/Sedatives/Hypnotics
Street Names: VS, FooFoo, Howards

Valium, generic name diazepam, is a benzodiazepine with central nervous system depressant effects. It is a long-acting prescription medication used to treat anxiety disorders, muscle spasms, seizures, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It is available as tablets, oral solution and injection. [1]

Continued use of Valium for a period of longer than 4-6 weeks can easily lead to tolerance, dependence, and possible addiction. This is why the medication is listed as a Schedule IV under the Controlled Substance Act. [2]

Use Statistics

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were more than 7 million Americans using diazepam in the past year. Of them, most were adults. Still, around 131,000 people who use Valium in the U.S. were adolescents and 650,000 were Americans between the ages 18-25.

More than 6 million U.S. adults reported using Valium in 2017.

Valium is also abused by more than a million Americans. That’s an estimated 0.4% of the U.S. population aged 12 or older. Nearly 50K teens, more than 200,000 young adults and nearly 800,000 adults aged 26+ reported past year abuse. [3]

Why Drug Test?

Diazepam is a tranquilizer that can cause sleepiness, drowsiness, confusion, and memory loss. Employers may order a drug test in order to identify the reasons for work impairment. In other cases, a court may order a drug test for legal reasons.

Additionally, there may be medical reasons for a drug text. For example, emergency rooms drug test in cases of injury or overdose. Or, your prescribing doctor may ask you for drug testing as part of your treatment. Finally, people in rehab are regularly tested for the presence of psychoactive drugs like diazepam. Knowing more about drug testing and how long Valium will remain in your system and is important, whatever the reasons.

Detection Window

A drug detection window is the period of time during which a drug screen can detect the presence of a drug or its metabolites in your urine, hair, saliva, or blood. The half-life of Valium is fairly long. On average, it can take 20 hours or even more for just half of the medication to be eliminated from your system. For chronic Valium users, diazepam can be detected in urine for 4-6 weeks even after you stop taking it.

However, drug detection windows are variable. We might even say that drug detection windows vary by person. This is because detection and metabolism depends on several individual factors, including the type of test used. Additionally, some people metabolize drugs relatively faster than other people.

There are several drug tests used to detect the presence of Valium in the body. These tests use different markers to detect the presence of diazepam in body fluids such as urine, saliva, hair, and blood.

Urine: A urine drug test will detect diazepam for up to 10 days after the last use.
Saliva: Valium is detectable on oral fluid tests 3 days after quitting.
Blood: The detection period for a blood tests is about 2 days.
Hair: Valium can be detected up to 90 days in hair follicle drug test.

IMORTANT: Diazepam detection times in urine, blood, hair, and saliva are in average and can vary greatly between individuals. You should use this information as a general guide only.

Influence Factors

There are many factors can factors that can affect the test’s results. Some of them include:

  • Age
  • Diet and use of fluids
  • Frequency and length of use
  • Gender
  • Level of physical activity you engage in
  • Liver and kidney function
  • Metabolism
  • Weight
  • Your health

In general, younger people eliminate diazepam faster than older ones. In fact, Valium’s typical half-life in a young, healthy person is about 24 hours. Also, people with slower metabolism will have Valium longer in their system. Those with liver or kidney problems can also have slower the elimination period.

Any Questions?

If you have any other questions about Valium detection times, feel free to post them in the comment section below. We will gladly try to answer to all real life questions promptly and personally.

Moreover, if you feel that your Valium use is out of control and you need help quitting, you should consider addiction treatment. Don’t hesitate to call our caring admission navigators on the hotline number listed on this page. We are available 24/7 to discuss treatment options with you.

Reference Sources: [1] FDA: VALIUM Label
[2] DEA: Drug Scheduling
[3] SAMSHA: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables
Addiction Blog: Valium half-life: How long does Valium stay in your system
SAMSHA: Clinical Drug Testing in Primary Care
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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: This article provides an overview of child welfare systems in Nevada. It explains what happens when abuse or neglect are reported in combination with substance use. Review how the process is directed by the NV State Child Welfare Agency. Plus, learn about state laws that protect children. More below.


Why Did They Take My Child?

If you are using drugs or drinking while your kids are in your care, the State of Nevada can find you “unfit” to properly care for your child. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can mean that you cannot provide proper:

  • Care
  • Control
  • Supervision

Further, parents who are high or drunk have problems providing adequate food, education, shelter, medical care, or other care a child needs for his/her well-being. This is considered child neglect.

Child Protective Services, or CPS, is a state run agency set up through law. The Nevada Revised Statutes, Chapter 432B outlines CPS duties. Mainly, the Nevada State CPS is in charge of investigating reports of suspected child abuse and neglect.

If it’s determined that you’ve been using drugs or drinking in the presence of your children, you could lose legal custody of your kids. They might be placed in foster care or even adopted by another family. [1]

You need to know what to expect and what steps to take if you’re are involved in a child protective service case. Using drugs or drinking doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it just means you need professional help. Reach out and let us help you. We can discus treatment options together.  Call us today and be connected with American Addiction Centers. Or, continue reading to learn more about the procedure of the Child Welfare system in Nevada.

Who Has Reported Me?

Anyone in the state of Nevada can report a parent to the local child welfare agency or to the police. If you suspect that a parent neglecting is drinking or using drugs, your call can help a child. The identity of the person making the report is kept confidential. NRS 432B.260 does not allow the child welfare agency to release the name of the person who reported the abuse and neglect concerns. [3]

1. Nevada’s CPS hotlines:

  • Clark County: 1-702- 399-0081
  • Washoe County: 1-755-784-8600
  • All other counties: 1-800-992-5757

2. Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453

3. Your local police department

In the State of Nevada, there are professionals who are obligated by the State law NRS432B.220 to report their suspicions. [2] Mandated reporters are required to make a report immediately to a CPS or law enforcement agency. A report must be made within 24 hours after there is a reason to believe that a child has been abused or neglected. There are penalties for mandated reporters when a report is not received within the time limit NRS 432B.240. [4] Mandatory reporters include:

  • Athletic trainer
  • Attorneys, under certain circumstances
  • Christian Science practitioner
  • Counselors, therapists, and other mental health
  • Foster care and child care employees
  • Hospital administration and personnel
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Medical examiners or coroners
  • Members of the clergy ,religious healers
  • Optometrist
  • Persons who maintain youth shelters or foster homes
  • Physicians, nurses, and other health-care workers
  • Probation officers
  • Schools employees
  • Social workers
  • Volunteer referral abuse service
What Happens When I’m Reported?

STEP 1. Intake. Intake is the first stage of the child protective service process and is one of the most important decision-making points in the child protection system. It is the point at which reports of suspected child abuse and neglect are received. Information gathered by caseworkers is used to make decisions regarding safety, risk, and the type of CPS response required. Referrals in Nevada are accepted from all sources, and each report is treated as a potential case of child maltreatment.

STEP 2. Investigation. Upon receiving a referral, the intake worker attempts to gather as much information as possible about each family member, the family as a whole, and the nature, extent and severity, of the alleged child maltreatment. Once the initial intake information is collected, the caseworker conducts a check of agency records and the Central Registry to determine any past reports or contact with the family. Then, the caseworkers must collect and analyze the information and determine if it meets the criteria outlined in Statute regarding the definition of child abuse and neglect and the requirements for response.

STEP 3. Prioritization and Response. Nevada State CPS prioritizes the investigation response time based on a number of factors including the nature of the allegations and the age of the child. The response times are either immediate, within 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, or 10 days. The average response time for CPS agencies in Nevada is at the 90th percentile level.

STEP 4. Case Determination. Upon completion of the investigation of a report of abuse or neglect, a determination of the case findings are made based on whether there is reasonable cause to believe that a child is abused or neglected or threatened with abuse or neglect. The case manager will assess whether the child is safe or unsafe, and if the child or family is in need of services. S/he will review what changes need to happen for the child to be safe at home. If the case manager determines that abuse or neglect did not occur, the report is “unsubstantiated.” If the case manager determines that abuse or neglect has occurred, the report is “substantiated.” You have the right to appeal a substantiation. [5]

What Happens Next?

Within 45 days of beginning the assessment, the case manager must decide if abuse or neglect has occurred. If the case manager finds that your child is unsafe, the case manager will work with you to establish a safety plan and services will be provided to assist in reducing any safety threats that exist. If a safety plan cannot be made, the case manager will talk with your family to:

  • Find a temporary safe place for your child to stay with relatives.
  • Place your child in foster care.
  • Arrange for you to see your child.
  • Arrange services for your child and family.

In certain situations, your child may be placed outside of your care without your permission. A protective custody court hearing must be held within 72 hours excluding weekends and holidays from the time the decision was made to remove your child. You will be notified of the date, time, and location of the hearing. You must attend the hearing. At the hearing, the court decides whether your child can safely be returned to your care until the next court hearing. You will be informed of your rights at this hearing. [6]

Child Welfare Laws

There are federal requirements for each state to have laws about reporting and investigating child abuse and neglect, as mandated by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. The laws in Nevada that protect children and incorporate the federal mandates can be found under Nevada Revised Statutes, Chapter 432B. Here’s a basic review of main federal and state laws regarding child protection.

1. Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act,CAPTA. This is the key federal legislation addressing child abuse and neglect. [7]

2. Protection of Children From Abuse and Neglect – CHAPTER 432B. This Law defines child abuse and neglect for NV State. The law authorizes child protection and law enforcement agencies to investigate reports of alleged child abuse and neglect. Parental substance abuse is considered neglect. The statute also outlines who is obligated to report child abuse and neglect. [8]

3. NRS 128.106 (d) Specific considerations in determining neglect by or unfitness of parent. This law states that in determining neglect by or unfitness of a parent, the court shall consider, without limitation, the following conditions which may diminish suitability as a parent: Excessive use of intoxicating liquors, controlled substances or dangerous drugs which renders the parent consistently unable to care for the child. [9]

The Courts that are In Charge?

Family matters in Nevada are resolved under the jurisdiction of the District Courts. Only Clark County has a specific Family Court Division. The Family Court helps people with divorce, annulment, child custody, visitation rights, child support, spousal support, community property division, name changes, adoption, and abuse and neglect. [10]

The Supreme Court is the state’s highest court and its primary responsibility is to review and rule on appeals from District Court cases. The court does not conduct fact-finding trials, but it rather determines if legal or procedural errors were committed during the case. The Supreme Court assigns one-third of all submitted cases to the Nevada Court of Appeals. [11]

What Happens to Parents?

If CPS’s case worker decides that a child has been neglected because of parental substance abuse, s/he will work with the parent to establish a safety plan. Services like rehab and counseling will be probably provided in order to reduce the harm caused to the child. If the parent doesn’t want services, but the child is unsafe, the case worker may ask the court to order that the parent takes part in a treatment program. It is very important for the parent to be involved in the discussion with the case worker.

What Happens to Children?

Depending on the severity of the case, children may remain at home or be removed into foster care.

In low-risk cases, children may remain in their own homes with their families. In these cases, families may receive in-home services and supports. This usually includes a combination of parent education, safety planning, counseling, and more. Families may also be connected with community services such as therapy, parent training, and support groups.

Most children in foster care are placed with relatives or foster families, but some may be placed in a group or residential setting. While a child is in foster care, he or she attends school and should receive medical care and other services as needed. Visits between parents and their children and between siblings are encouraged and supported, following a set plan. [12]

What Happens if I Drink or Use?

The goal of the NV State Child Welfare System is to reunite child with parents. But if you drink or use drugs, you need to go through  rehabilitation to make it possible. You must follow the Nevada court’s orders. This means that you’ll need to actively participate in counseling. Plus, you’ll need to make other lifestyle changes so that your child can live with you safely.

If the judge sees that you have continued to drink or use drugs and made no real effort toward reunification with your child and s/he might order that your parental rights be terminated. When this happens, the child is placed for adoption or with a legal guardian, possibly a family member.

While foster care is defined as temporary placement of the children until you get better, the termination of parental rights in permanent.

So why risk it?

Your children need you. And you deserve a better life. You can live a life without drugs or alcohol. A good treatment program can change your life forever. Are you ready to do what’s best for your family? Call us to learn more about your rehab options in the Silver State. Our admissions navigators are available day and night to talk with you. We can walk you through the process of change. You can do it!

Can I Get My Child Back?

Yes. About 3 in 5 children in foster care return home to their parents or other family members. However, before your children come home, the Nevada child welfare agency and court must be certain that:

  • You can keep your children safe.
  • You can meet your children’s needs.
  • You are prepared to be a parent.

Being involved with the child welfare system can give your family support and a chance to be stronger than before. By fully participating in your case plan and the services it includes, you can strengthen your skills to become the best parent that you can be for your children. [13]

Your Questions

Got any questions?

If you still have question and concerns about the child welfare system in Nevada, please post your comments in the section below. You can also find more information about the child welfare system in Nevada here.

Reference Source: [1] Nevada Revised Statutes: CHAPTER 432B- PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM ABUSE AND NEGLECT
[5] Nevada Department of Health & Human Services: Division of Child & Family Services
[6] Nevada Department of Health & Human Services: DCFS: Parents Guide to CPS
[7] Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)
[9] Nevada Revised Statutes: CHAPTER 128 – TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Specific considerations in determining neglect by or unfitness of parent.
[10] Eight Judicial District Court, Clark County Nevada: Family Courts
[11] Nevada Judiciary: About the Nevada Judiciary
[12] Child Welfare Information Gateway: How the Child Welfare System Works
[13] Child Welfare: Reunification
Nevada Department of Health & Human Services: DCFS: Nevada Child Abuse and Neglect Allegation Definitions
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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Parenting and drug use never go together. In Texas, family laws consider drug use a type of “child abuse”. What can you do if you have an addiction problem? A review of Texas child custody laws here.


“The Best Interest of the Child” Policy

Under Texas Family Code § 153.002, all Texas courts are guided by the best interests of the child principle when deciding child custody and visitation orders. [1] That means that Texas courts aim to make an order that best serves the physical, mental, and emotional needs of a child. But how do judges make decisions about child custody?

The decision on where to place a child for their best interest takes into account many variables. Some factors used to determine rulings on child custody cases include, but are not limited to:

A child’s preference when s/he is at least 10 years old.
A history of abusive or assaultive behavior by the child’s family.
Each parent’s future plans for the child.
Parental history of substance abuse.
The ability of each parent to care for the child.
The child’s age and physical and mental vulnerabilities.
The environment and stability of each parent’s home.
The parents’ plan for caring for the child.
The physical, emotional, and mental needs of the child.

Also, when deciding parenting plans, courts follow Texas public policy. The goal is to provide a safe, stable and nonviolent environment. But the state also wants to keep both parents in the life of the child. Where possible, courts want to encourage parents to share rights and responsibilities of raising the child. Another thing worth mentioning is that Texas courts will not consider the marital status or the sex of the parents when deciding parenting plans.

Supervising Courts

In Texas, there are hundreds of courts that operate in the state. Each has a different jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is based on location, topic, and offense severity. Some courts overlap each other, making the whole  system complex and confusing.

At the highest level is the Texas Supreme Court which handles civil matters. Then, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals handles criminal matters. On the next level are the 14 Courts of Appeal. They, too, have appellate jurisdiction.

The major trial courts in Texas are called “district courts”. They are responsible for civil and criminal cases. Some district courts specialize in a particular type of case, such as juvenile or family law. But there are also county courts, statutory probate courts, justice of the peace courts, and municipal courts. While these have limited jurisdiction, any one of these courts may be involved in a child custody case. [2]

Family law matters, including divorces and child custody cases are generally handled by the district courts. In most counties, a divorce case is filed through the District Clerk’s office. However, there are also child support specialty courts, and specialty child protection courts in Texas. [3] Moreover, the Office of the Attorney General is the official child support enforcement agency for Texas. It provides services in establishing and enforcing child support. [4]


All Texas child custody laws comply with the Uniform Child Custody Act, whose aim is to minimize custody disputes that involve more than one state. [5] The Family Code and Health & Safety Code are the two main Texas codes for child custody and drug engendered children, respectively. What other laws exist in Texas that outline child custody guidelines?

We’ve gathered a list of the most important laws and chapters of those laws concerning child custody in Texas. It should be noted that this list is not extensive and is not intended to provide legal advice. For detailed explanation on any legal matter, you should consult an attorney.

Family Code § 263.307(b) This section list the factors that should be considered in determining whether the child’s parents are willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment. [6]

Family Code § 263.307(a), (c) This section provides guidelines that should be considered by the court in determining whether to adopt the permanency plan submitted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. [7]

Family Code § 261.001 This Chapter defines investigation of report of child abuse or neglect. It also defines the terms “abuse” and “born addicted to alcohol or a controlled substance”. [8]

Health & Safety Code § 468.102 A chapter that regulates how The Department of Family and Protective Services should protect a drug-endangered child “exposed to methamphetamine or to chemicals and other hazardous materials used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine.” [9]

Health & Safety Code § 468.103 A chapter that defines how the Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas and each local law enforcement agency shall report on discovering the presence of a child in a location where methamphetamine is manufactured. [10]

Types of Custody

In Texas, laws refer to child custody as “conservatorship”. Conservatorship outlines the rights and duties parents have towards children. Conservatorship includes important decisions like education or medical treatment, among many other things. The parent with court ordered custody is called a “conservator”. There are two types of conservatorship in Texas:

Sole Managing Conservatorship where only one parent has the right to make all the decisions for the child.

Joint Managing Conservatorship where both parents make decisions together.

Texas law encourages joint custody whenever possible. It is considered that it is in the best interest of the child to have both parents live near one another and make decisions together. [11]

“Proof” of Drug or Alcohol Use

Using a controlled substance that impairs a caregiver’s ability to adequately care for a child is considered “child abuse” or “neglect” in Texas. In child custody cases, parents may file a motion seeking to have the other parent tested for drugs. However, the court will need some proof that a drug test is needed. The proof that the court can take into consideration includes:

  • Criminal records
  • Medical reports
  • Records from social welfare agencies
  • Third party eye witnesses

The court is not obliged to grant the motion if there is not enough evidence provided. But, most courts will grant a motion for drug testing, usually a urine drug test, because that is in the best interest of the child. If the parent suspected of drug or alcohol use wants to oppose this, s/he needs to file counter motion and lists reasons why drug testing is not necessary. Also, if the court suspects one or both parents are using drugs, it can order a drug test as part of its child custody evaluation.

Visitation Rights

Texas does not use the term “visitation” ; instead Texas law outlines the practice of “possession and access”. Possession and access refers to physical custody of children and when a parent can visit the children. Usually, the child will live with one parent while the other will have visitation rights. How is possession and access arranged in Texas?

If you and the other parent agree, you can create a schedule or an informal parenting plan. If you can’t agree, the court will develop a plan based on the best interest of the child. The visitation plan needs to be fair. Both parents should agree to it. The court’s possession order will indicate when each parent has the right to be with the child. A typical visitation schedule might include alternate weekends, alternate holidays, and vacation time.

There are several types of possession orders in Texas. We list the most common four types of possession and access setups here.

  1. Standard Possession Order. This type of order designates who gets the kids and on what weekends. The parent with visitation rights can visit the child on the first Friday of the month, followed by the third and fifth Fridays of the same month. Access usually ends on the Sunday of the same week at 6:00 p.m. Every Thursday evening, the parent can visit the child between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  2. Modified Possession Orders. If there’s been a change in circumstances, a parent may want to pursue a modification of the original possession order. However, there are certain elements that must be met to modify a standard possession order. These modifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Possession Orders for a Child Under 3. If a child is under three, parents may still agree to use the Standard Possession Order. Or they may agree to use a different possession schedule. If they are unable to agree on a schedule, the judge will make an order based on all relevant factors, like those listed in Texas Family Code Section 153.254. [12]
  4. Supervised Possession Orders. When a parent is supervised by a neutral third party, the other parent or designated professionals must be present when s/he is visiting the child. In cases of severe parental alienation, substance abuse disorder, mental or physical abuse, neglect or mental illness the court may order limited or supervised visitation.

Whatever your current situation it is important to remember that custody and visitation are never considered “final”. As situations change, you can come back to court to request changes. So, if you’re struggling with addiction, just know that your access to your kids may be limited now…but that can change. The idea is that as you show signs of healthier living, judges and courts can adapt new possession orders.

What Happens If I Test Positive?

If you are actively using drugs or alcohol and you fail a court ordered drug test, the court takes the drug test very seriously. In fact, it will be a major factor in influencing the court’s decision on visitation and custody, especially if you have a young child or a child with special needs. You may lose all visitation rights or you may get only supervised visitation.

Repeated positive drug or alcohol tests may end in termination of visitation rights in Texas.

The Texas legal system prioritizes the child’s best interest. Judges will be very cautious when granting custody to a parent who uses drugs. That is because substance abuse:

  • Exposes the child to illegal drugs.
  • Increases the risk of neglect.
  • Indicates an unhealthy environment.

In these cases, a parent with and addiction problem may be referred to rehab, counseling, or parent classes. Have in mind that a positive drug test doesn’t automatically mean losing your parental rights. Your willingness to change and work towards that goal will make all the difference.

Can Someone Subpoena My Records from Rehab

In principle, your medical and health records are private. The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability law and the Texas Medical Records Privacy Act serve to help you protect your personal health information.

However, Texas courts have held that the privilege to privacy in medical records is not absolute in custody cases. In cases of neglect, abuse or domestic violence the court may order disclosure of rehab records for the purposes of the custody case only. Since parental substance abuse is considered child abuse in Texas, you should be aware that your medical records may be disclosed and used against you.

What laws protect your privacy in the Lone Star State?

HIPAA is a federal law designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. [13]

Texas Medical Records Privacy Act requires “certain persons and entities including health care providers, health plans and entities that process health insurance claims to take certain measures with respect to protected health information…” [14] This law that provides more protection for patient privacy than is provided under HIPAA. The Act adopts the basic tenets of the HIPAA Privacy Standards and provides additional protections for Texans in some areas where HIPAA has left gaps. In most cases, the act prohibits using or disclosing health information without first obtaining an individual’s consent.

How to Be Reunited with My Kids?

It is very simple.  You just have to show willingness to change. Then, comply with the court’s orders.

As mentioned above, Texas’ public policy is to encourage parents to share custody. The state government wants both parents be present in the child’s life. So, if the judge grants a drug test motion, you should comply with the order and submit to the drug test. If the judge refers you to rehab, you should comply with that order, too.

While in rehab you may be granted supervised visitation, or your visitation rights may be completely suspended. It will depend on your specific case.

If you successfully complete a treatment program and are actively participating in an ongoing recovery, it is very likely that the court will reverse its decision. In contrast, failing to comply with a court order could result in permanent termination of parental rights.

American Addiction Centers is a leading provider of inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment services. In fact, we have a treatment center in Texas. We offer same-day admissions and arrange transportation. Call our free and confidential helpline to explore your treatment options today. You want to be with your kids. Get better with treatment. Call us to get started.

What Happens When I Finish Rehab?

If you have lost custody of your children because of a drug problem, you can file a motion to get your custody back. But, the court will want to be sure that issues have been resolved before they consider returning the children to your care. When will your kids be back in your care?

How long it takes to be reunited with your children will depend on you. If you commit to maintaining a drug-free lifestyle, you’ll need to show proof over time. You’ll need to have and maintain a stable home and job. Then, you’ll need to provide evidence that you have mental, emotional, and financial stability. Finally, the court may evaluate your case and modify the custody or the visitation order.

Finishing rehab is only the first step in getting your kids back during a custody battle that involves drug or alcohol use. You still have a long road ahead of you. You’ll need to adjust to day-to-day life without using. This is why it is very important that you have an aftercare treatment plan developed that will keep you motivated to stay clean and sober. Aftercare usually includes a combination of counseling, support groups, or a stay in a sober home.

Yes, addiction is a disease,. The good news is that it can be treated and managed. It just takes time, proper treatment and motivation. Being a parent your children deserve is the best motivation. Change is possible. Call us today to learn how American Addiction Centers can help. Our admissions navigators are ready to talk with you 24-7, day or night. We’re waiting for your call.

Where to Find Rehab?

Finding a good rehab program that fits your needs may seem difficult, but there numerous treatment options in Texas. Where can you find a reputable rehab?

SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

SAMHSA’s Treatment Locator

Texas Department of State Health Services – Find Substance Abuse Services


Don’t wait another day. Seeking treatment is not a sign of weakness. Think about your children and how your recovery will affect their lives in the long run. Every child deserves healthy and productive parents. Ask for help today!

When to Get Legal Help

Child custody and visitation rights issues can be emotionally demanding and legally complex. But, an experienced child custody lawyer can help you determine your best course of action, provide legal guidance, and represent your best interests in court. Here’s some useful links where you can search legal help:

Texas Access and Visitation Hotline (866)-292-4636, Monday – Friday, 1–7 p.m.

Legal Help Finder

CPS Family Helpline 1-844-888-6565, Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. 

Texas Advocacy Project – Legal Phone Lines

Your Questions

We hope to have covered the topic of legal custody in Texas and to have answered your questions. But we know that you probably want to talk personally. Please feel free to call us day or night. Or, leave a questions in the comments below. We try to respond to all real life questions personally. And if we can’t answer your questions, we’ll refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: [1] Texas Constitution and Statutes: Texas Family Code
[2] Texas Judicial Branch: About Texas Courts: Court Structure Chart
[3] Texas Judicial Branch: About Texas Courts: SPECIALTY COURTS
[4] Ken Paxton Attorney General of Texas
[5] U.S. Department of Justice: The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
[6] Texas Statutes: Texas Family Code
[7] Texas Statutes: Texas Family Code
[8] Texas Statutes: Texas Family Code
[9] Texas Statutes: Health & Safety Code
[10] Texas Statutes: Health & Safety Code
[11] Texas Statutes: Texas Family Code
[12] Texas Statutes: Texas Family Code
[13] HHS: Summary of the HIPAA Security Rule
Texas Statutes: Health and Safety Code: Medical Record Privacy
American Addiction Centers
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ARTICLE SUMMARY: Drugs are all around us, and they don’t discriminate. Drugs don’t care what your background is, what you look like or where you come from. The facts tell it all and they are frightening. It’s time to be realistic and realize drugs are impacting the youth of today, even possibly yours.

Table of Contents:

The Impact on your Child’s Development

No one has a dream or goal to become an addict when they try drugs. Unfortunately, it’s not up to them. This is especially true for teens. Their brains are still developing through adolescence and the risk of addiction is higher than that of adults.

According to sources, “By the time adolescents do require treatment for [addiction], they are well on their way through the developmental stages during which risk emerges”. What does this mean in layman’s terms? Basically, this means that we need to be aware of the risk factors and the outcomes or drug use. People who use and abuse drugs at a young age often suffer from mental health problems, including depression, personality disorders and suicidal thoughts later in life. The specific damage that can be done is extremely concerning.

However, you are the anti-drug.

One in three parents believe there is little they can do to prevent teen drug use. However, evidence that shows parental involvement is the strongest factor in prevention. So the good news is that you can make a direct and positive impact on your teen’s mental health. The bad news is that more and more teens are using to the point of addiction…just how many?

The Statistics are Alarming

Statistics don’t lie.

As parents, you can choose to ignore the findings, however, it’s important to pay attention before your own child becomes a statistic. Below are many alarming stats from recent U.S. Health and Human Services report that will make you cringe.

  • In 2018, over 15% of American 12th-graders misused prescription drugs.
  • There were 5,455 deaths due to drug overdose among teens in 2017.
  • In 2017, about one in four high school seniors used an illicit drug, such as heroin or marijuana, in the past 30 days.
  • In 2016, more than 1.4 million adolescents ages 12 to 17 needed treatment for an illicit drug problem.
  • From 2014 to 2015, the rate of drug overdose deaths among teens in the United States increased by 19 percent.
  • In 2015, 5% of high school students (grades 9-12) reported using any form of cocaine.
Where are the Drugs Coming From?

Without you realizing it, you may actually be feeding your child’s curiosity and habit. While parents certainly don’t want to admit they are enabling their children to use drugs, a 2013 study reports that over half of teens got prescription drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinet. Most parents are in denial that their child would ever do something like that … but it might be happening, right in front of your eyes.

As a precaution, parents need to ensure their children and their friends don’t have access to any prescription medication that can be harmful to them.

Teens are well aware of the intoxicating effects prescription drugs can have on them. So what can you do? If you’re a parent with a script for OxyContin or Xanax, just to name a few, make sure they’re out of reach. Pay attention to how many pills you have, so if any are missing, you’ll notice. Medications like these are highly addictive and can lead to overdose.

What you may consider to be a harmless everyday medication lying around the house, such as cough medicine, may be seen by your teen as a way to get high. You baby-proofed your house when your child was a toddler to protect them. How is teen-proofing any different?

How to Approach your Child

If you suspect your teen is using drugs, or even selling drugs, you need to act swiftly. Some of the main signs of a problem include when your teen starts:

  • Acting differently
  • Looking unhealthy
  • Losing interest in their normal activities such as sports
  • Not performing well at school

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to have a conversation with them. The reality is your child may not admit the truth for fear of punishment, embarrassment or judgement. Often, the signs are obvious. So, you need to master open communication. When you communicate without judgment and your message comes with a lot of love, your family can get through this.

When you connect with your teen on an emotional level instead of shaming and blaming, they’re more likely to share the why, the how and the how long.

No one wants their child to use drugs. While your initial reaction of discovering drug use may be to yell and be angry at your child, overreacting will only push your teen further away. It’s time to put your emotions to the side and discover how deep your teen may be into their drug habit. How can you do this?

Try to get into the mind of your addicted teen and see more from their perspective. Let your child know how important they are to you and how you only wish them health, happiness and success in their future, all the things drugs can and will destroy. Research tells us that teens who feel supported and loved are more likely to stop experimenting with drugs or seek help if they have an addiction.

You can make a difference in your child’s life and there is support out there to help your family get through this. There is no guarantee your child will never use drugs just because you’re a loving and present parent, however, you will be able to reduce the possibility of your child experimenting with drugs, possibility leading to addiction.

There are many programs available and while it can be overwhelming to figure out which one is right for your child, there is help to navigate through these uncharted and choppy waters. Organizations such as HelpYourTeenNow, an advocacy group, is dedicated to helping parents understand which form of treatment is best for their child, free of charge.

Preventing the Problem

So, how can you prevent your kids from getting into trouble with drugs or alcohol?

Believe it, or not…your presence alone goes a long way. Let your child know you care. Be present in their life and make an effort to know who your child is hanging out with. This will enable you to feel comfortable with their choice of friends or be able to recognize when there may be a concern.

Then…talk, talk, talk. Talk to your kids about drugs, even if you’re convinced they aren’t using them. While they may roll their eyes or consider you a clueless parent, there could be important information you offer they may not have been aware of.

Finally, create a plan of action in case your child is ever put in an uncomfortable situation where drugs may be present. Whether it’s texting or calling with a code word, let them know you are available to pick them up no matter what time or where, no questions asked. Parents! Stop pretending drugs aren’t an issue. Kids are getting high right now, in your community,and possibly right in your home.

Face the Music

Parents, it’s time to wake up.

The statistics don’t lie. Your child is at risk for using drugs. It’s very scary indeed but you have to face reality. “No, not my child”, isn’t going to cut it. While your child may be sweet and honest and immature, s/he is facing a new world. There’s peer pressure, curiosity, an escape from something happening in their lives…. and many other reasons your child could be dabbling into the world of drugs.

This article isn’t to frighten you, but rather to educate you, and perhaps save your child’s life. The youth of today feel they are untouchable and don’t have much worry about the long-term damage drugs can have on their bodies. Talk to your kids. Talk to other parents.

Finally, know that there is support.

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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: A complete guide to California drug courts. We review eligibility requirements, how to get started, and what happens when you complete the program. A detailed explanation of the legal process here.


What is a Drug Court?

California drug courts are problem-solving courts specially designed as an alternative to traditional criminal justice prosecution. These courts are mainly set up for non-violent, substance-related offenses. In short, drug courts put treatment and rehabilitation ahead of punishment.

The main idea behind drug courts is that crime and addiction can be treated. The traditional approach of punishment has proven ineffective, otherwise, the system would have stopped it a long time ago. Compared to incarceration, addiction treatment improves the long-term outcomes because it addresses the root cause of drug-related crime. Treatment improves a person chances of reintegrating into the community and becoming a productive member of society. [1]

In fact, there are numerous benefits of drug courts. Some of them include:

  • Promoting long-term recovery
  • Reducing crime
  • Reducing drug and alcohol use
  • Reunifying families
  • Saving tax money

On average, treatment costs for California drug courts range from $900 to $1,600. Compared to an average cost of $5,000 per person for a minimal period of incarceration, perhaps you’ll agree that this seems to make economic and judicial sense. [2]

If you or a loved one has recently been arrested or charged with a drug-related crime in California, we are here to let you know that treatment works! In fact, can help you if you are ready to start treatment. American Addiction Centers provides care to adults struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We can help you get better. Please call our hotline number today to speak with an admissions navigator. Hope is here.

California’s Drug Court History

The concept of drug courts spread across the country in the early 90’s. Getting treatment is a cost-effective and beneficial option for people who get into legal trouble. These courts offer more targeted help that gets at the root cause of the issue. But when did the state first begin offering drug courts?

California’s first adult drug court began in Alameda County in 1991. In 1995, California’s first juvenile offender drug court began hearing cases in Tulare County. In 1998, The Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs started supporting the development of drug courts in California.

California drug courts are much less formal than traditional courts. They are much more loosely structured, giving each court some flexibility as to how it will run. There is an ongoing dialogue between the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and defendant. The focus is on people rather than punishment. [3]

California is committed to the concept that alcohol and drug treatment are preferable to the incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders. Indeed, the effectiveness of the drug courts has been proven by numerous scientific studies. It’s been shown to reduce re-arrest rates, lower costs and provide better treatment outcomes. It is not just clients who benefit from drug courts… but American society as a whole. [4] [5]

Drug Court Requirements and Eligibility in California

Each drug court in California has its own eligibility and exclusion requirements, so, when defining drug court eligibility, it’s better to first define who is not eligible to participate in a drug court. In general, you are not eligible if you have:

  • A prior conviction for a violent crime.
  • Been charged with a DUI and resulting serious injury.
  • Been charged with a crime involving possession of a firearm.
  • Been charged with a violent offense.
  • been charged with arson or sex crimes.
  • Been charged with drug possession with intent to sell.
  • Been charged with drug manufacturing or trafficking.
  • Refused treatment.
  • Unlawful presence within the United States.

Additionally, you must be diagnosed with addiction in order to go through drug court. This makes sense. Plus, you must be eligible for probation in order to participate. Since the program takes place out of custody, you must be on probation in order to attend activities. Finally, you must not be under active deportation process.

What laws support these guidelines?

Drug court programs are legally authorized by California Penal Code 1000.5 PC. [6] According to this code, defendants are referred to drug court by written agreement of a judge, the prosecutor, and the public defender.  Graduation requirements vary, but usually involve the completion of educational and job training requirements with addiction treatment. Successful completion of a drug court program can result in a dismissal of the drug charges.

In terms of eligibility, the most important criteria are that California drug courts are designed to treat non-violent drug-using offenders whose criminal history is related to drug abuse and addiction.

The State of California has authored innovative legislature to back up the idea. Proposition 36, also known as the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, is a mandatory diversion program for those who qualify. Its main goal was to allow first and second-time, nonviolent offenders get treatment rather than go to jail. [7]

Getting Started

Currently, California has over 200 drug courts within its 58 counties. [3] The different types of Collaborative Justice Courts in California include:

  • Adult Drug Court
  • Back on TRAC
  • DUI/DWI Courts
  • Family Dependency Drug Court
  • Federal District Drug Court
  • Homeless Courts
  • Juvenile Drug Courts
  • Mental Health Courts
  • Re-Entry Courts
  • Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts
  • Veterans’ Treatment Court

Drug Courts in California work according to certain models. There are four ways to enroll in a drug court program. Since each drug court in California has different criteria and each case is unique, it’s best to consult an attorney to learn more about how you can enroll into a drug court program as an alternative sentence. The main ways you can request participation in a CA drug court include:

  1. The pre-plea model allows drug possession offenders a stay of prosecution if they participate in a treatment supervised by the court.
  2. Post-plea models state that a defendant has to enter a guilty plea before entering treatment. The treatment lasts from nine months to three years.
  3. The post-adjudication model gives opportunity drug offenders to re-enter treatment after their conviction. But first, the convicted person has to serve the sentence. If the case is referred to drug court following a conviction at a jury trial, the trial judge has the option of retaining jurisdiction of the case or referring it to a calendar court.
  4. The civil model allows individuals to enter treatment as a condition of retaining or regaining custody of a child or children. Failure to complete the program can result in permanent loss of custody.

So, what’s the process like?

STEP 1: If you are eligible for a drug court, a judge will order a screening. This will be conducted by the Program Manager or Therapist involved in the program. Screening takes place in the form of an interview and it will usually last for an hour.

STEP 2: After the screening, a multidisciplinary team will assess your record and personal history. This usually happens the same week or the week following the assessment. Screening and assessment ensure that each participant receives appropriate substance abuse disorder treatment services and community-based support.

STEP 3: If it is decided that you will be accepted into the program, it is very likely that you will be placed in residential treatment or sober living program. You will be expected to complete the course of recommended treatment.

STEP 4: Ongoing activities may be set up by drug court judges for you during and after rehab. You may need to attending ongoing counseling session, for example. Or, you may need to attend support group meetings. Compliance ensures success. Follow the drug court plan … and you’re on your way to a new life!

STEP 5: Successful completion of a program entitles you to a dismissal of the related charges.

The Process

Drug Court is a four-phase program that usually lasts from 6 to 24 months. n California, drug courts usually implement a multi-phased treatment process. You will move from one phase to the next when you complete the requirements of the phase and make progress in your recovery. Poor performance during any phase may result in going back to a previous phase with more intensive monitoring and restrictions.

In general, drug court programs in CA are divided into four phases. If you are a drug court participant in California you must complete all these phases in order to qualify for dismissal of charges and a clean legal record.

1. Stabilization Phase. This first stage of treatment focuses on your  stabilization. The stabilization phase may include a period of detox, psychosocial and physical assessment and development of treatment plan. During this phase, you will have to attend court once a week.

2. Intensive Treatment Phase. Abstinence from drugs and alcohol as a primary focus. This phase typically involves intensive individual and group counseling, attend weekly AA and NA meetings. Usually, participants attend court twice a week.

3. Aftercare Review Interview Phase: You will continue with group therapy and individual counseling, and you will still have to attend support group meetings. Typically, during this phase, you will be interviewed by the Drug Court team. The interview will determine if you are ready to move to the last phase which is the aftercare. You are required to make monthly court appearances.

4. Transition Phase. This phase focuses on the planning necessary to transition you out of the drug court, and relapse prevention strategies. The transition phase may emphasize social reintegration, employment and education, housing services, and other aftercare activities. You will have to attend court once a month.


When the court orders someone to attend rehab, the next step is to gather a treatment team. The treatment team consists of a judge, attorneys, case managers, health care providers, and therapists. These professionals all work with the offender to ensure an effective treatment plan, and also to make sure the offender is complying with the court orders. Team members provide regular communication, encouragement, and support for the offender. But drug court also extends support to their friends and family members throughout the hearings, therapy, and discharge.

Drug court participants in CA should be able access to a continuum of treatment and rehab services. [8] Treatment services should include:

  • Aftercare services
  • Attendance at support group meetings
  • Detox
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Inpatient or outpatient rehab
  • Mandatory drug tests
  • Medications
  • Regular appearances before the court

You will be required to pay for the treatment, and you can choose where you want to be treated. Insurance may pay for all or part of a treatment program, and some facilities offer reduced or subsidized payments for qualifying individuals.

The severity of your addiction and your dedication will determine your recovery time. However, it is expected that most participants should be able to successfully complete the treatment program after 10 to 24 months. If you cooperate with the court you can turn this situation at your advantage, your probation terminated or charges dismissed.


After enrollment in a drug court program, your progress will be closely monitored by the court. You are expected to be on time, to show up to and complete drug tests. You are also required to attend all group sessions and court dates. You will be asked to be honest.

In other words, when you go through a drug court in CA, you are held accountable for your progress. You are expected to comply with the court’s orders and respect the court.

In order to encourage compliance, behavioral changes and adherence with treatment, the court will use sanctions and incentives. Rewards for compliant behavior can include:

  • Certificate of graduation
  • Extended curfew
  • Gift certificates
  • Praise by the court or judge
  • Promotion to the next phase
  • Sobriety tokens
  • Termination of probation

Conversely, sanctions for non-compliance may include: writing a letter to the court or to your case manager, coming to court more often, community service, time in jail, termination from drug court. Although there is no set number of violations that result in termination, persistent noncompliance are not tolerated. If you are terminated from the program, you will be sent back to court for sentencing.

Still, most people successfully complete of all phases of treatment.  In some cases, probation may be terminated at the end of the program. In other cases, you must successfully complete the full three years of probation after participation.

California Drug Court Statistics

Drug courts are generally thought to be more effective than routine criminal justice case-processing at reducing rates of recidivism and drug use among offenders. There have been many successes in California Drug Court programs. Participants have remained off of drugs, stayed out of the criminal justice system, obtained their driver’s licenses, become employed, gone back to school, received vocational training and started their own businesses, and gained or regained custody of their children.

SO, what are the number say about the effectiveness of drug courts? The data taken from the Collaborative Courts 2016 Annual Report by the County of Orange shows that:

The adult and juvenile programs have saved more than $120.6 million through the avoidance of more than 852,848 custody bed days.

The re-arrest rate for Drug Court graduates, three years after graduation, is 28.15% for any crime, compared with a re-arrest rate for comparable non-participants of 74%.

The Drug Court program avoided 28,637 jail and prison bed days prior to the application of custody credits, which were stayed pending graduation in 2016— which translates to a cost savings of $4,196,179.

Two drug-free babies were born to women while they were participating in Drug Court in 2016, bringing the cumulative total to 153 drug-free babies born since the inception of the program.

Participants performed 1,275 hours of community service in 2016.

During the year, 63 participants graduated from the Drug Court program, free of addiction and employed or pursuing educational goals. [9]

Nationwide, the numbers show that drug Courts reduce crime by an average of 8% to 26%, with most estimates from 9% to 14%. Well-functioning drug courts reduce crime rates by 35% and the effects last at least 3 years. Additionally, the average recidivism rate for those who complete Drug Court is between 4% and 29%, compared to 48% for those who do not participate in a Drug Court program. Finally, for every $1,000 invested in adult drug courts, communities reaped approximately $2 to $4 in benefits, totaling roughly $3,000 to $12,000 per participant. [10]

These numbers show the effectiveness and importance of drug courts.

Drug courts can save lives.

Drug courts help individuals.

Drug courts heal our society.

Completing California Drug Court

You graduate from drug court when you complete all four phases of the program. You must be at least 90 consecutive days clean and sober. Except in unusual circumstances as determined by the judge, a participant who graduates after less than nine months in the program will remain on probation until the expiration of the nine-month period.

But before you leave supervision, the court want you to have a strong recovery support system. This includes employment and stable housing. Then, graduation is a time to celebrate your accomplishments! You may invite your family and friends to join you at your drug court graduation. It’s often a life changing moment.

What happens next?

If you successfully complete a Drug Court program in California:

  • Your probation may be terminated early.
  • Your charges may be reduced.
  • Your case may be dismissed.

Also, if you are involved in a child custody case, you may get your child back.

Successful completion will give you the tools to become contributing members of society and your community.

Your Questions

If you still have questions about California’s drug court system, we encourage you to leave a question in the comments section below. We’ll try to respond to you promptly and personally.

Reference Sources: [1] James E. Lessenger / Glade F. Roper (eds.) Drug Courts: A New Approach to Treatment and Rehabilitation
[2] California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs – Drug Courts Overview.
[3] California Courts: Drug Courts
[4] HHS: Drug Court Effectiveness: A Review of California Evaluation Reports, 1995–1999
[5] National Institute of Justice: Do Drug Courts Work? Findings from Drug Court Research
[6] California Legislative Information: California Penal Code 1000.5 PC
[7] Proposition 36 Drug Treatment Diversion Program. Initiative Statute
[8] California Courts: 2019 California Rules of Court
[9] Superior Court of California County of Orange: 2016 Annual Report
[10] Drug Courts: National Perspective
Superior Court of California: County of San Diego: Drug Court Process
Superior Court of California: Drug Court Participant Handbook

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