Twisting arms or a helping hand? Assessing the impact of ‘coerced’ and comparable ‘voluntary’ drug treatment options

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McSweeney, Tim ; Stevens, Alex ; Hunt, Neil ; Turnbull, Paul J. (2007)

Despite the rapid expansion of options to coerce drug-dependent offenders into\ud treatment - culminating recently in the provisions of the Drugs Act 2005 and the\ud government’s ‘Tough Choices’ agenda - research findings to date are equivocal about\ud their impact in reducing crime. This paper presents UK findings from a pan-European\ud study on this issue. The results – at both national and international levels - reveal that\ud court-mandated clients reported significant and sustained reductions in illicit drug use\ud and offending behaviours, and improvements in other areas of social functioning.\ud Those entering the same treatment services through non-criminal justice routes also\ud reported similar reductions and improvements. The implications of these findings are\ud discussed in the context of recent policy developments.
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