Substance Abuse

The majority of people in prison and jail have a substance use disorder. Despite the promise demonstrated by some treatment programs for people who are incarcerated, just a fraction of the people who need services for substance abuse receive it. Connecting people incarcerated to treatment programs proven to be effective, prioritizing resources for those nearing release, and encouraging community-based aftercare will ensure better outcomes for people released from prisons and jails, and the communities to which they return.

Substance Abuse FAQs

Providing answers on relevant topics concerning Mental Health, Health and Substance Abuse topics.

Recent Posts

U.S. Capitol

Congress Funds Key Criminal Justice Programs

Congress funded three key programs championed by the Council of State Governments Justice Center as part of an appropriations bill that provided $26.7 billion to support U.S. Department of Justice programs.



Call for Applicants for Medication Assisted Treatment Program

The purpose of this program from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is to provide funding to states to enhance and/or expand their treatment service systems to increase capacity and provide accessible, effective, comprehensive, and coordinated care and evidence-based medication-assisted treatment and recovery support services to individuals with opioid use disorders.



Improving Outcomes for Court-Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Disorders

This webinar provides an overview of three briefs that were recently published by National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges on the treatment of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders among youth.


Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

OJJDP’s Statistical Briefing Book on Youth

This resource, hosted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and developed by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, offers access to statistics on a variety of juvenile justice topics at the national, state, and county levels. Such […]

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Interim Report of the President’s Task Force on Twenty-First Century Policing

This interim report from Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the President’s Task Force on Twenty-First Century Policing identifies guiding principles and recommendations for policing practices that can promote effective crime reduction while building public trust within the communities they serve.

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Democracy & Justice: Collected Writings, Vol. VIII

This compendium includes material drawn from Brennan Center reports, policy proposals, issue briefs, public remarks, legal briefs, and congressional testimonies, as well as op-eds written by Brennan Center staff, fellows, and experts in the field in 2014.

American Jail Association

10 Facts About Women in Jails

This article from the American Jail Association provides an overview of research and practice that point to the unique challenges faced by women who are involved with the justice system.

Recent headlines

Road to Redemption: Hackensack Group Offers Helping Hand to Ex-offenders

There was no one-stop organization covering all the various needs of people just getting out, Bonnie O’Brien, Director of Transition Professionals said. Transition Professionals helps recent inmates find shelter, replace identification, enroll in health care, food distribution programs and other government aid.

Criminologist Challenges the Effectiveness of Solitary Confinement

A new study by a UT Dallas criminologist finds that solitary confinement does not deter inmates from committing further violence in prison. In addition, the The study cites previous research that has found that solitary confinement can cause serious health and psychological problems for inmates, many of whom are vulnerable because of existing mental health conditions and/or addictions.

Florida Legislature Opens Door to For-profit Mental Health Services

Florida legislators have proposed at least 22 bills that make the most dramatic changes to the state’s mental health delivery system in decades. But there is a catch: the reform effort would also end the system’s dependence on not-for-profit managed care providers and would open the door to for-profit managed care companies to compete for the $506 million in state business.

How California Voters Got So Smart on Crime

But there was no mistaking what happened when the Golden State’s electorate gave Proposition 47 a 20 percent margin of victory this past November: an earthquake was unleashed in the world of criminal justice. The tremors have reached as far as Texas and New York, where prison reformers are looking at Prop 47 as a model for their own proposals.

VA Jail Release Program Helps Troubled Connecticut Vets

“… Murdock’s outlook changed drastically after a Veterans Health Administration social worker met with him while he was still in prison, assessed him and arranged for him to receive an apartment, food, clothing and medical care upon his release. “

Mental Health Providers Look for Federal Incentives to Go Digital, Too

Many health care providers see great potential benefit to integrating patients’ mental and physical health records, and making those records accessible to all providers through a unified system. So far, however, federal subsidies offered since 2009 to promote electronic health record-sharing have not been available to mental health clinics, psychologists, or psychiatric hospitals.

Poll: Texans Strongly Support Criminal Justice Reforms

According to this study by the Council of State Government’s Justice Center, from 2007 to 2012, the number of juveniles detained in Texas state facilities dropped from around 4,305 to about 1,500, a decrease of 66 percent, while the juvenile crime rate fell by a third.

Drug Treatment Court Rebuilds Lives

Drug Treatment Court is an alternative to a sentence with the Montana Department of Corrections, and involves plans developed for each participant.