Drug Courts, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health

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Issue: Drug Courts, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health


Some of the grant programs can be used to support state courts efforts.


State courts support full funding for these programs, encourage federal entities to funnel federal funds through the highest judicial authority of the states and territories, and support the Administration’s proposal to establish a problem-solving courts grant program.  (CCJ/COSCA Resolution 09-A-3, CCJ/COSCA Resolution 11-A-12, COSCA Resolution 12-M-5, and  CCJ Resolution 13-M-7


The grant programs that address these issues are by in large administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

DOJ Grant Programs – (1) Drug Courts and (2) Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA)  

HHS Grant Programs

– (1) Mental Health Services Programs of Regional and National Significance (jail diversion) and (2) Substance Abuse Treatment Programs of Regional and National Significance (criminal justice activities/substance abuse treatment courts).


The history of the relevant funding has been as follows.





Mental Health

Jail Diversion

Substance Abuse Treatment Courts






$37 M

$12 M

$7.0 M

$44 M


$35 M

$9 M

$7.0 M

$43 M


$39 M

$9 M

$6.7 M

$67.3 M


$41 M

$8.25 M

$4.8 M

$75 M

$4 M

$4 M


$41 M

$9 M

$4.27 M

$78 M

$5 M

$4 M


$42 M

$10 M

$4.2 M

$78 M

$5 M

$4 M

President Obama’s budget requests for FY 2010 through FY 2015 proposed eliminating specific funding for drug court programs and for mental health programs, and creating a new grant program for problem-solving courts.  For the FY 2010 - FY 2016 appropriations, Congress continued to fund drug courts and mental health courts separately.

The President’s FY 2016 request included $36M for drug courts, $14M for MIOTCRA, $10M for Project HOPE, $4.27M for the Mental Health Jail Diversion program, and $61.9M for Criminal Justice Activities, such as drug treatment courts. 

The FY 2016 omnibus bill (P.L. 114-113) included the following.

  • Drug Courts - $42M ­­
  • MIOTCRA - $10M
  • Veterans Treatment Courts - $6M
  • Project Hope - $4M
Preliminarily, the above programs get level funding or increases in the ongoing FY2017 funding cycle. For example, Drug Courts get $42M, MIOTRA gets $12M, and Veterans Treatment courts get $7M. These amounts are not final, as bills have not been signed into law. On 7/14/16, the Congress passed S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA), which authorizes a number of measures to combat the opioid epidemic including new specialty court grants to state/local governments.

On 7/22/16, S. 524 was signed by the President making it PL 114-198.  

After a year-end CR extended FY 2016 spending levels until April, the 115th Congress will impose its will on the FY 2017 appropriations and as well as for FY 2018.