Mandatory drug rehab isn’t as effective as voluntary treatment in preventing criminal recidivism, a recent systematic review published in the International Journal of Drug Policy found.
Researchers analyzed nine studies that evaluated mandatory drug rehab programs, including drug detention facilities, inpatient treatment, community-based treatment, outpatient treatment and prison-based treatment, and found that some studies showed potential harms associated with mandatory drug rehab.
The studies were selected from a total of 430, which were initially identified as potentially relevant to review. Those related to licit substances such as tobacco and alcohol were excluded, as were studies that evaluated outcomes such as psychological functioning, attitudinal or psychosocial change. Studies that included semi-compulsory treatment — where individuals were given a choice between drug rehab or a punitive penalty, such as drug courts — were also excluded. The studies were all peer-reviewed and dealt with outcomes related to mandatory drug rehab for illicit drugs.
One-third of the studies analyzed showed no significant benefits of mandatory drug treatment for illicit substance use. Two studies were open to interpretation, two studies concluded that mandatory drug rehab had negative outcomes related to criminal recidivism, two studies found positive outcomes, one study saw a small, significant impact of mandatory inpatient addiction treatment on criminal recidivism, and a retrospective study found improved outcomes related to substance use a week after a patient was released from treatment.
Seventy-eight percent of studies that evaluated the effectiveness of mandatory drug rehab showed that… (continue reading)