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New Guidelines To Rehabilitate Drug Offenders

Recently, new guidelines and principles were issued to rehabilitate drug offenders. The 13 principles are contained in a report prepared by the National Institute// on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The report, which is titled, Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations, uses some of the work conducted by University of Kentucky Researchers Michele Staton-Tindall, Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science and Center on Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR) and Carl Leukefeld, Professor of Behavioral Science and Director of CDAR.

Findings from Staton-Tindall's 2003 Kentucky study were used to profile the substance use, mental health problems, health problems and treatment history of incarcerated women. These findings point out the unique issues of women in criminal justice settings. The article is one of only wo peer-reviewed articles cited in the entire NIH report.

Staton-Tindall and Leukefeld's research is part of the NIDA/NIH-funded Central States Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Research Systems (CJ-DATS) Center in Lexington. It is one of nine such centers in the U.S. The CJ-DATS Center studies drug abuse interventions in the criminal justice system. The goal of the research is to develop, implement, and test interventions to reduce recidivism, drug abuse and crime.

It is estimated that 70 percent of people incarcerated in state prisons and local jails, in Kentucky and elsewhere, have at some point been regular drug users – compared to approximately 9 percent of the general population. Despite these figures, only about 20 percent of incarcerated offenders receive any rehabilitation treatment. Lawmakers and taxpayers have long been loathe to approve extensive drug abuse treatment programs, fearing financial costs. Drug abuse costs communities every day, in the form of prison expenses, court costs, property damage, violent crimes, emergency room
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