Law: Drug Treatment and Testing Orders

Introduction

The issue of drug-related offenses is a tragic phenomenon in recent days. This is drastically affecting the young people of the country. The criminal justice system of the country is to face a critical reality in addressing this complex psycho-social phenomenon. The frequent selling and purchasing of drugs are causing a deadly effect on society. The third Report (10 September 1998) states that “[t]he consequence of such transaction is sure to introduce a fertile ground in terminating the existence of youth generation of the country”.

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Drug: A threat to mankind

Axiomatically speaking, almost all over the world the problem of drug addiction has been one of the tremendous concerns. People of all classes and of all ages; particularly, young people are mostly addicted to the drug. A strong voice has been raised over the nations against this. Having an in-depth realization as to the consequences of drug addiction, countries have pledged to eliminate this for their respective better sake as the existence and prospects of human society close relation to this issue. Hence, people of the nations by making their firm footing have declared collective commitment against this through the campaign of “War on Drugs”. But, unfortunately, the program for eliminating the drug from human society has not gained success. Davis (2007-08) evidently states

“The current prohibition of drugs in every country has proved to be a colossal failure. About ten percent of the total population is addicted to a smoking pot which, turns roughly 30 million citizen criminals. In a survey, it is found that every country in proportion spends 400 billion dollars on the “War on Drugs” and has not put any damper on the internal demand for them.”

Criminological Theories regarding Drug and Crimes

From the criminological viewpoint, there is an inextricable relationship between crime and drugs. Drug largely contributes to the commission of crimes. Exponents have propounded their theories as to the contribution of drugs in committing crimes. There is a bulk of theories regarding the relationship between drugs and their influence on committing crimes. As per the criminogenic concepts, several factors like vulnerable socio-economic conditions, cultural context, geographic location, etc. are responsible for the issue of drug addiction and crimes. Theorists have propounded their respective views regarding the relationship between drugs and crimes.

Theory of Seddon

Mark Seddon, a drug crime specialist, in 2000 explained his theory relating to the connection between drugs and crimes as they can be explained such:

  1. Crime as the origin of the drug: Drug addiction is the root of varied types of crime. This drives people in becoming prone to crimes.
  2. Drug as the origin of crime; and
  3. Factors related to the drug and crime.

In the modern era, a complicated lifestyle gives birth to the frustration which imbues people to drug addiction and ultimately causes them in committing crimes. Seddon rightly quote that

“Value judgments may be at play here as some user-offenders may not be involved in crime prior to drug use and not everyone involved in irregular economies uses heroin or commits property crimes.” (Shaw, Egan, and Gillespie, March 2007, p.19)

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Other factors related to the drug and crime

The issues of drugs and crime also relate to some other factors. Particular cultural context, lifestyle, and socio-economic ingredients in matters closely linked to the drug addiction as a consequence of committing crimes. It is said in the outlook of Mark Seddon that

“the user-offender nexus needs to be viewed within a wider socioeconomic context that is influenced by subcultures, lifestyles, individual factors such as drug preference and the effects of long term drug use.” (Shaw, Egan, and Gillespie, March 2007, p.19)

Theory of Bresnihan sadi

Another exponent of drug crimes is Bresnihan sadi. As per Sadi, drug addiction puts an influence on the people to commit crimes and estimates that a significant portion of crimes in Ireland is the result of drug-related issues. From a minute analysis, he observed that most of the drug users are involved in crimes as they need money.

Theory of Pudney

The theory of Pudney has come to the light in 1998. Pudney in an experiment advocated that most of the drug users are from poor class families. Thus, in order to adequately support themselves, the drug addicts become busy collecting the drug substances for the collection of enough money. Henceforth, people, i.e. drug addicts are involved in committing crimes.

Legislative Effort

Countries have long been striving to tackle and eliminate the evil consequences of drug crises. People of various states have legislated various enactments to contain the production and usage of drugs for keeping the people far away from the evil consequences of drugs. But they are very much inadequate and cannot properly address the drug issues. Law enforcement agencies, courts, and prison systems of the countries of the world seem to be taking a serious note to deal with and cure the problem. But, in practice, no commendable improvement has been made to end this. Moreover, “Drug misuse is a critical problem likely to be associated with homelessness.

Experts have expressed a deep concern noting that misuse of drug contributed to homelessness for those persons who are addicted to it” (Tameside, 25 September 2006). In many countries, there are drug courts that have taken various types of steps to solve the problem. It is reported that during the 9th decade of the last century, in 1989 Florida introduced the drug treatment court model for tackling drug offenders. Later on, states have been adopting the same means in addressing drug offenses. As per Bean (2002), “in England and Wales, the importation of the drug treatment court has not been possible because of legislative difficulties” (Kouimtsidis et al., 2007, p.463).

Such a system actually indicates a system of reformative approach as the offenders are kept out of the prison and attempts are made for reforming their behavior. One of the important methods of reforming the offenders is DTTO (Drug treatment and testing order). Of course, the legal framework for the drug treatment and testing order was introduced in 1998. To this end, a pilot project involving three sites was established. The Drug Treatment and Testing Orders services as designed began to implement in the UK in October 2000. Again, in 2005 drug intervention program was implemented.

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Treatment of Drug Offenders in the UK

The DTTO system is prevalent in the UK designed for solving the issue of drug usage and drug offenders. This treatment method for drug offenders is implemented following a court order. “It is the first multiple agency initiatives for the treatment of substance misuse in the UK to afford help with drug problems of the drug-addicted persons. In England and Wales, the Drug Treatment and Testing Order were started to get effect through court since 1 October 2002” (Nontrans16-en, 2003).

The drug treatment and testing order was first initiated in 1998 and was implemented in 2000. But in 2005 the Drug Treatment and Testing Orders were renamed by the drug rehabilitation requirement. The main object of the Drug Treatment and Testing Orders was to prevent drug-driven offenses, with the long-term object of getting users off drugs for betterment. Unequivocally, Drug Treatment and Testing Order is an alternative to the prison system for reducing drug offenses.

This is a new method aimed at reforming the habitual offenders who are accustomed to commit a series of crimes. So, the philosophy enunciated in this legislative instrument articulates for reducing the drug-related offenses and help those drug addicts who are not sent to prison. In so doing, it is required to obtain the consent of the accused and the court is to adhere to closely reviewing the orders made on a continuous basis. Under the system, the accused is required to be subject to frequent drug testing.

The accused person must also be critically examined regularly for drug use and the report of the treatment providers is expected to detail a clear specification regarding the response of the accused to the treatment. In English law, the courts have a formal contribution to the reviewing process. These reviews are made for the purpose of motivating the accused and to give the court surety that the treatment is being complied with. Treatment services to support Drug Treatment and Testing orders are affected by the probation service.

Effectiveness

In regard to the effectiveness of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders services, it is strongly argued that the services provided by the program are immensely helpful in helping offenders to reduce their tendency of using drugs. Again, the drug addicts become free from drugs. They also added that due to the orientation of the program, the drug addicts began to be completely free from addiction and radically changed their lifestyles.

Success

Actually, the purpose of the Drug Treatment and Testing Orders services is to rectify or reform the character of the drug users and rehabilitate them in society giving them an opportunity of leading a refined and improved lifestyle. Of course, the success of this program depends upon the personal traits and surrounding circumstances of the offenders. The offenders reduce the usage of drugs in case of the fact that they come out from addiction. They resort to legal means in taking drugs after they have been provided Drug Treatment and Testing Orders services.

Improved Lifestyle

Drug Treatment and Testing Orders deserve special mention on the ground that it has placed significant changes in eliminating drug usage. Actually, it has made a significant introduction in changing the lives of the offenders through eradicating drugs. So, Drug Treatment and Testing Orders is the most reliable place for the drug offenders for getting better output from society.

The reasons why Drug Treatment and Testing Orders has made such exemplary success in drug prevention are rapid engagement with treatment; the access to a range of treatment options that are required for satisfying the individual’s needs; accountability of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders functionaries; and the active involvement of both the offender and the sentencer in the review process. Undeniably, motivation is one of the principal components of any working change. Drug Treatment and Testing Orders in this regard are worth due regard as they developed the motivation to the individual offenders which have accelerated significant changes and have reaffirmed the effectiveness of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (The Scottish Government, 5 June 2006).

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Elimination of Drugs

“A significant reduction of drug-taking is supposed to be considered a success” (The Scottish Government, 5 June 2006). Persons who previously used 200 drugs a day, now using 10 a day and gradually they are reducing the figure of taking drugs. This is so as people are getting benefits following legitimate means. So, certainly, it is a tremendous success for the program which signals the potentials and significance of the program in the reduction of offenses on a long-term basis (Gossop, et al. 2000).

Reduction of Drug-Related Offences

The main object of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders is to provide treatment facilities to the offenders outside prison who are trapped in the vicious circle of the drug. Drug Treatment and Testing Orders are successfully implemented to solve the problem. The Select Committee on Home Affairs of UK in its Third report has added,

“An interesting aspect of the Bolton Project is that it tests offenders throughout their period of attendance to monitor their use of drugs. The Government’s proposed drug treatment and testing order will enable courts to impose drug treatment, with the consent of the offender, to specify some of the terms of the treatment and to review the offender’s progress.” (Third Report, 10 September 1998)

It is much logical to note that the drug testing scheme conducted over both the persons of 18 years and above under the Drug Treatment and Testing Order of 1998 and the Criminal Justice And Court Services Act 2000 have been proved most effective means of reducing drug related offenses. So, it is very much conspicuous that the drug treatment and testing order is actually providing benefits to the common masses as the offenses are significantly reducing due to the introduction of this legislative instrument.

Improvement of Physical Condition

It is reported that the ratio of the reduction of drug usage has radically been changed among the offenders who have been treated under Drug Treatment and Testing Orders. Besides, taking treatment from Drug Treatment and Testing Orders program, the offenders have also been able to improve their physical condition.

Failure

Despite its success, Drug Treatment and Testing Order have also shared in its failure. Addiction workers having gained practical experience through working with drug addicts have opined that though the program has been designed to effectively cure them and rehabilitate them in society, it could not see the ray of hope or success of the program. The program has not been able to properly redress its means and objectives.

The major defect of it is laid on the point that the recommendations that have been recommended are too much vague. Younger offenders while suitable in many respects for Drug Treatment and Testing Orders were also perceived by staff as being more likely to have difficulties complying with the requirements of an order. They also attributed some offenders’ failures to comply with the intensity and intrusiveness of the order because it is not an easy road for them and it can also be suggested that offenders who refused to be assessed for a Drug Treatment and Testing Orders frequently cited the perceived intensity of commitment required.

Lack of Realization

The majority of offenders were viewed by Drug Treatment and Testing Orders staff and treatment providers as being very motivated or fairly motivated to reduce their drug use, offending, and other problems at the start of their orders. From their survey, according to Treatment providers’ views of offenders’ motivation at the start of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders suggests,

“The percentage of reducing drug use in the case of very motivated is 11 (24%), in the case of fairly motivated is 31 (69%) and in the case of not motivated at all is 3 (7%). The percentage of reducing offending in the case of being very motivated is 19 (42%), in the case of fairly motivated is 23 (51%) and in the case of not motivated at all is 3 (7%). The percentage of reducing other problems in the case of very motivated is 12 (27%), in the case of fairly motivated is 33 (73%) and in the case of not motivated at all is 0%” (The Scottish Government, 5 June 2006).

As per, Drug Treatment and Testing Orders workers, offenders were mostly motivated to address their drug use at the outset of their orders. But, unfortunately, the program could not gain success due to several factors; one significant factor of which is accommodating them in their residence. Due to this, the offenders cannot realize their problems and do not try to rectify them through the eradication of drugs and their evil consequences from their lives.

Lack of proper undertakings

Due to the lack of proper steps, the program has not been successful. Authority has not paid full concentration on it. In reforming the drug addicts, authorities take different effective means to leave drugs and increase the efficiencies of drug addicts to help them get back to a normal and sound lifestyle. For the purposes of education and training, only six hours in a week are spent by the Prisoners. Though the drug users are poisoned for drug treatment, more than half of all prisoners take drugs in prison. But only 10 percent are receiving treatment for addiction.

Inherent Defects

Relevantly, there are also some factors that have constrained further promotion and effectiveness of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders. The first ground is the introduction of a narrow band drug-misusing offender with distinct profiles while the other factor is Drug Treatment and Testing Orders is nonetheless peripheral to offenders’ lives and to other external influences upon their drug use and associated behavior. To quote Benedict White, “Many thanks Crosland. I will look those up and also later will post details of the actual Conservative manifesto commitments from last time” (A Conservative’s blog, 08 October 2006).

Though the reform program is going on, many offenders are not completely free from being prone to drug-related offenses. It has been rightly held that “At these days, 60 percent of offenders re-offend within two years of their release which includes about 75 percent of male prisoners under 21 and 80 percent of those between 14 and 17” (A Conservative’s blog, 08 October 2006).

Accommodation

The influence on the ability of offenders to complete Drug Treatment and Testing Orders is they are accommodated in their houses. Due to this, the offenders have not been adequately responded to the issue of addressing the drug issue. “In Tameside Homelessness Review 2003, it was said that average Rating for Drug Misuse was 6.8 and for mental health issues was 8.75” (Tameside, 25 September 2006).

In the same survey report, it was also reported that of 18 people 10 had the equal opportunity of getting the same support services which helped them to deal with their substance and alcohol dependency issues. Three people were on Drug Treatment and Testing Orders with the Probation service and some gave positive feedback about the benefits of this program and the other drug support offered by the Probation service.

Reluctance in changing the living condition of the offenders

It has been thoroughly experienced that the number of drug users is drastically increasing among homeless people who lead their lives within the hostel; after passing the whole day hither and thither, the whole night they remain in a hostel. In such a situation, it completely becomes impossible for a person to be free from drugs or bad companions. It is reasonably believed that a set or sets of social factors are responsible for this, i.e. indiscriminate usage of drugs in all the corners of society. For example, the unhygienic living condition of drug addicts is the favorable ground for such drug usage. Again, having friends who used drugs and having drug-using partners made it more difficult for offenders to successfully complete Drug Treatment and Testing Orders; because they are still living in the same environment and are still surrounded by the same socio-economic situation.

Recommendations

Commendably, the treatment facilities provided to the drug offenders are followed by a court order. This program of providing medication to the drug offenders has been designed for facilitating those who cannot afford in availing the traditional medical services. There is nothing denying that the program of treatment for drug users has been deemed as the safety net for them.

  • NACRO stated, “they strongly support the Government’s view that more drug offenders should be the subject of court-ordered drug treatment”, but warned that “it would be difficult to expand the use of drug treatment for offenders significantly unless adequate resources can be guaranteed to finance treatment programs. At present community care funding for drug treatment and rehabilitation is not ‘ring fenced’. We suggest that funding should be earmarked to fund the treatment of drug-misusing offenders” (Third Report, 10 September 1998). So, provisions should be made so that community care funding for drug treatment and rehabilitation programs can be successful.
  • It is important to note that only the prison sentences would not act as an effective means to the persons who have been given Drug Treatment and Testing Orders services. So, it is time to introduce the system of citizens’ participation in solving the problem; such as public discourse, community care, developed social institutions.
  • In fact, no amount of arm-twisting by the authorities can make people giving up drugs. People will only change their behavior if they themselves recognize their drug use as a problem and are motivated enough to do something about it. Surveys show that around two-thirds of people sentenced to drug treatment and testing orders do not successfully complete their treatment. So, a motivational scheme should be developed.
  • Though the Drug Treatment and Testing Order are normally a stand-alone, a Community Rehabilitation Order can be imposed along with the order where a residence requirement is required, other than for residential treatment.
  • A successful Drug Treatment and Testing Order can ensure a positive lifestyle, stop offending, and re-establishes relationships with family members leading to a normal life. The frequent and smooth functioning of a program implies its success. Actually “[t]he success of the drug treatment and testing order depends upon the total refusal of drugs by an offender” (The Scottish Government, 5 June 2006).
  • The drug treatment and testing order can be successful if the social work managers manage to achieve the desired changes in the accused person’s drug use and to impact positively upon their offending.
  • Accused persons treated under the drug treatment and testing order might be benefited if means are taken for their sound health, close relationships, and developed social situations.
  • In an experiment, it is expressed by the sheriff that the positive result of a Drug Treatment and Testing Orders can develop the offenders’ lives, such as finding a job and staying away from their prior drug users and coming back to a drug-free life. So, steps should be undertaken so that the offenders being free from addiction can rehabilitate in society through their employment.
  • The success of a successful Drug Treatment and Testing Order depends upon the treatment providers, the social work managers, and Drug Treatment and Testing Orders staff. So, all the personnel engaged in drug prevention and providing medication and services to the offenders should be equally competent, skilled, honest, and reliable.

Conclusion

Drug addiction is a serious issue and a matter of deep concern among people of the nations. The criminal justice system of a country is mostly engaged in addressing drug issues and drug addicts. Virtually speaking, this is a threat to the existence of a given human society. People of a particular community are to deal with various issues in addressing the drug problem. Commendably, one of the significant and working attempts in addressing this issue is Drug Treatment and Testing Orders.

The concept of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders speculates keeping the offenders outside the prison. This concept is the new method for solving the drug addiction problem and forgetting their drug-free life. Almost all of the countries of the European Union; such as, Denmark, Ireland has successfully implemented the program which has effectively curbed or eliminated the drug problems in their countries. So, for the better sake of the country, this should immediately be introduced (Bean, 2002).

In the UK, after giving effect to Drug Treatment and Testing Orders, the previous situation has radically been changed and has made a wider avenue of opening a new era of hope and aspiration in this regard. Again, the policymakers should take into account the loopholes and defects for introducing proper means in eradicating the drug crises and ensuring a greater chance for the people of the country.

References

A Conservative’s blog (2006). The Prison overcrowding fiasco. Web.

Bean, P. (2002) Drug treatment courts, British Style.The Drug Treatment Court Movement in Britain. Substance Use and Misuse, 37, 1595-1614.

Davis, J. Robert. (2007-08). Legalization of Drugs. Culture: The Stark Raving Ideoblog. Web.

Gossop, M., et al., (2000) Reductions inacquisitive crime and drug use after treatment of addiction problems:1year follow up. Law Bulletin, 23, 122-128. Web.

Kouimtsidis et al. Treatment or prison: service user and staff experiences of drug treatment and testing orders. Psychiatric Bulletin (2007), 31, 463-466. Web.

Nontrans16-en. (2003). Web.

Tameside.gov.uk (2006). Tameside Homelessness. Web.

The Scottish Government. (2006). Drug Treatment and Testing Orders: Evaluation of the Scottish Pilots. Chapter Six: Effect of DTTOS on Drug Use and Offending. Web.

Third Report (1998). Select Committee on Home Affairs. Web.

Shaw, April., Egan, James and Gillespie, Morag. (2007). Drugs and Poverty: A literature review. A report of the Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) on behalf of the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams. Glasgow Caledonian University. Web.

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