Drug Treatment Policy in the Criminal Justice System: A Scoping Literature Review

Danielle Resiak, Elias Mpofu, James Athanasou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This scoping review sought to map the emerging evidence on use of harm minimization drug treatment programs in criminal justice settings. A search of various data bases including Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Medline, ProQuest, SAGE Premier, Scopus, Taylor & Francis Online, and Web of Science yielded eight studies that met inclusion criteria. The available evidence suggests increasing adoption of harm minimization policy oriented programs by countries around the world. Specific programs adopted include needle and syringe exchange, methadone maintenance, buprenorphine maintenance and treatment in lieu of incarceration. Each of these programs has evidence to support their effectiveness in relation to individual harm reduction, disease reduction, increase treatment retention and reduced criminality. This article considers implications of the adoption of harm minimization policies by criminal justice systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Criminal Justice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Criminal justice system
  • Drug treatment policy
  • Harm minimization
  • Zero tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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