A behind-the-scenes perspective on the key components of drug court: A narrative analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment

Publication Date


Date Added



Drug courts continue to expand throughout the United States; however, little is known about participants’ lived experiences in the program, particularly as it relates to the key components of the drug court model. Fifteen participants of the Monroe County (Indiana) drug court completed surveys where they answered five open-ended questions related to key components of the drug court model. Participants reported mixed feelings related to the quality of counseling they received, and some felt that their individualized treatment needs were not being met. Overall, participants viewed the drug court team as supportive, and they felt that praise from the judge was one of the most helpful incentives they received. Some participants noted that the frequent and random drug testing system deterred them from using drugs and resulted in positive, cognitive changes that supported their recovery. The most common challenges associated with frequent and random drug testing were that some participants thought that it was too expensive and time-consuming which they felt could delay their progress in the program, or even their graduation. The findings are discussed in reference to drug court practice.




Social Work