New Zealand Law Society - Alcohol and Drug Court pilot extended

Alcohol and Drug Court pilot extended

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The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court pilot has been extended for a further three years.

The AODT Court pilot began in November 2012 in the Waitakere and Auckland District Courts.

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It aims to help reduce alcohol and drug use, reoffending and imprisonment. The pilot identifies offenders whose alcohol and other drug dependency is behind a pattern of serious offending and diverts them from prison into treatment under the close supervision of the Court.

Justice Minister Amy Adams says the harm associated with alcohol and other drug abuse remains one of the major drivers of crime and social harm in New Zealand.

“Preliminary analysis suggests the AODT Court reduces the likelihood of reoffending by around 15% in the short-term when measured against matched offenders going through the standard court process," Ms Adams says.

“One of the early graduates from the Court was a man who had been dependent on drugs for over 20 years. He has since been clean for over three years and is now working at a drug rehabilitation organisation to help others get off drugs and into a life free of crime.

“We’re seeing many other success stories emerging from the AODT Court pilot and early signs are promising. However, given the length of time participants spend in the Court, the small sample size to date, and the need to determine whether reductions in reoffending are sustainable once graduates leave the Court, it is necessary to extend the pilot for a further three years.

“This will enable us to determine whether the Court is the best way to achieve a long-lasting reduction in the harm associated with alcohol and drug abuse before we look at permanently establishing the model.”