Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Kentucky Drug Court: Paving the Road to Recovery


Drug Court is a shining example of Kentucky’s success in specialty courts. Instead of spending time in jail, eligible participants complete a substance abuse program supervised by a judge. Drug Court graduates are more likely to return to productive lives and stay gainfully employed, pay child support and meet other obligations.

Kentucky Drug Court was created in 1996 to assist individuals who have entered the criminal justice system as a result of drug use or drug-related criminal activity and are choosing to achieve and maintain recovery. Drug Court combines close court supervision and treatment with other services to intervene and break the cycle of substance abuse, addiction and crime.

The program uses a team approach that requires collaboration among judges, Specialty Court staff, prosecutors, defense counsel, treatment professionals, law enforcement officers and other community agencies. These professionals help addicted individuals regain control of their lives through judicial oversight, intensive supervision and monitoring, participation in substance abuse treatment sessions and self-help groups, frequent and random urine screens, and referrals to community service agencies and other services.

Today there is irrefutable evidence that Drug Court is achieving what it set out to do — substantially reduce drug use and criminal behavior in drug-addicted offenders. For more than 20 years, the program's solid track record has convinced leaders in state government, along with local judges, prosecutors and treatment providers, that Drug Court is an essential part of the Kentucky court system.

Drug Court operates under the Department of Specialty Courts at the Administrative Office of the Courts.​​