Miami Dade County established the nation's first drug court in 1989, aiming to reduce crime related to substance abuse and dependence without jeopardizing public safety or due process, and thus increase trial capacity for more serious criminal cases. This was accomplished through a model of assessment, judicial monitoring and supervision, graduated sanctions and rewards, and treatment services, managed by a nonadversarial and multidisciplinary team.
As of 2005, 1,550 drug courts were operating in the United States, as were a host of other specialized, "problem solving" courts. But with decreased funding at all government levels, drug court expansion is no longer a foregone conclusion.
The National Institute of Justice and other agencies are now funding drug court studies that raise the standard beyond anecdotal observation. In this 2-hour online event, sponsored by the Government Innovators Network and the NIJ, a panel of drug treatment and court experts discussed research on adult drug court outcomes and costs, and the factors that affect program implementation and impact.