It is well established that despite a broad range of complex health needs, substance-abusing individuals do not use health services in a consistent, efficient manner. While drug courts have proliferated across North America as a means of addressing substance abuse and reducing criminality, their potential role in improving the health of drug-addicted criminal offenders has remained largely ignored. The current study examines the Drug Treatment Court of Vancouver’s impact on participants’ patterns of health services utilization for those entering the court between December 2001 and March 2004. While results suggest that drug court participants were alienated from health services, and generally remained so even after involvement with the drug court, they also indicate that the court may have influenced the way in which participants engaged with the health system, particularly in relation to substance-use related health services. Further research into the potential health benefits of this judicial intervention is required.
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