A significant portion of drug and alcohol treatment in Illinois provides extensive programs for the youth. When teens incur status offenses and other non-violent criminal offenses as a result of alcohol and substance abuse, parents and probation officers sometimes recommend that the teen apply for an Illinois drug court.
Why Apply to an Illinois Drug Court Program?

Drug courts are designed as a last alternative to assist teens in making a full recovery from alcohol and drug abuse. However, drug court is also a program that deals with changing destructive behaviors that result in status offenses, misdemeanors and criminal offenses. The court uses a variety of meeting updates, continuous care and constant drug testing to monitor and reevaluate the condition of the teen, while they are under the supervision of the program. Many focus on making a complete reversal in their behavior that can help them to move on with their lives, including attending school, getting a job or career or being able to take care their children.
Drug Court Treatment and Teen Hope
Teens also hope to be accepted into the drug court treatment system, so that their criminal record can be expunged. This will allow them to have a fresh start within the job world. Unfortunately, teens that commit violent acts are prohibited from attending any drug court. These teens must serve their time, while knowing their records will never be expunged from the system. Even though teens that commit non-violent acts are not accepted into drug courts, those that enter drug courts are usually seen as being one step away from committing violence or more severe crimes. Furthermore, they are also views as being at extreme risk for being in prison as an adult. So, many teens also hope to finally kick their drug and alcohol addictions, and get their lives together rather than face prison time.
Qualifications for Acceptance into Drug Court

Teens must meet all or most of these qualifications to be accepted into a drug court program:
ï The teen or youth must already have a felony conviction on their record
ï There must be evidence of an open hearing at the time of sentencing without any plea agreements ï Teens must live within the county residence of Illinois for which they are applying
ï Must have tested positive for drug and alcohol abuse by an approved screening process
ï Must not have a violent history
ï A prospective participant must not have a history of drug dealing and must have a sentence that is more than 24 months long
Teens within the Illinois drug court system are extremely vulnerable to falling back into the addictive and criminal lifestyle. Because of this risk, it is required that participants follow all rules and use all treatment options while in program. Not doing so, will make this at risk for being kicked out of drug court, which will most likely lead them back into their old criminal habits. Therefore, teens must have a strong determination to complete the program despite any temptations.

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