Document Type


Publication Date


Research Program

Library Research Award

First Advisor

Dr. James S. Josefson


This article examines the relationships between substance abuse, criminal justice, and public health in the United States, with a specific focus on Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) within drug treatment courts. The analysis uncovers the limitations of punitive measures, particularly within the framework of President Richard Nixon's "War on Drugs," revealing the need for evidence-based solutions like MAT in criminal justice. The pivotal role of MAT in addressing opioid addiction within drug courts is explored in detail, and data is presented supporting its effectiveness. Despite this efficacy, persistent barriers to its implementation are identified, including stigma, policy constraints, and healthcare disparities. Legal scholars' varying opinions on MAT are presented and analyzed, revealing the necessity for increased education and training to dispel stigma and misconceptions surrounding MAT medications among legal professionals.

The article concludes by proposing a research design to address existing gaps in the literature, focusing on stigma as a barrier to MAT accessibility. The research design suggests conducting a survey of legal professionals, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders to gather data on the prevalence of stigma in different contexts, and the availability of MAT in drug courts. The research aims to inform evidence-based policy recommendations and targeted interventions that will increase the availability and use of MAT in drug treatment courts. In summary, this article not only identifies challenges within the drug court system but also proposes solutions, emphasizing education, policy reform, and targeted interventions to enhance MAT accessibility.


Library Research Award 2023, Second Place