Treating Opioid Use Disorders in Drug Court: Participants’ Views on Using Medication-Assisted Treatments (MATs) to Support Recovery

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

International Criminal Justice Review

Publication Date


Date Added



Drug courts began in 1989 in Miami-Dade County, FL. Due to their success in treating substance use disorders and reducing criminal recidivism, they have expanded globally and are currently operating in countries such as Australia, Canada, and Scotland, to name a few. Drug courts can be a key intervention in addressing the opioid epidemic. This is the first known qualitative study to ask drug court participants ( n = 38) who have opioid use disorders questions related to their lived experiences in drug court, as well as direct questions related to the use of medication-assisted treatments (MATs) in drug court. Overall, drug court participants felt that MATs were helpful for treating their opioid use disorders; however, some participants reported using other drugs while on MATs and they viewed their recovery through a harm reduction lens. Additionally, participants emphasized the importance of using MATs in combination with counseling that used cognitive and behavioral therapies. Implications for drug court practice and future research are discussed.




Social Work