Louisiana Supreme Court - 400 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130 | Tel: 504-310-2300 Hon. Bernette J. Johnson. Chief Justice.  John Tarlton Olivier., Clerk of Court.  Sandra A. Vujnovich. Judicial Administrator
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 Drug and Specialty Courts

Drug and alcohol addiction is a problem that has grown in scope dramatically over the past three decades.   During the decades of the 1980s and 1990s the problems associated with drug and alcohol abuse were considered by many to be the paramount public health issue facing the United States (U.S. Department of Justice, 1997, 1997 Drug Use Forecasting: Annual Report on Adult and Juvenile Arrestees).   Drug courts were devised as a means for effectively using the resources of a community to fight the problem of drug and alcohol addiction.  


The first identified drug court was established in Dade County, Florida in 1989 as an experiment in problem solving.   The design was premised upon the ability of a judge, with the help of all the justice system stakeholders, to supervise individuals who needed services.

These services combine both treatment and educational components with the ability of a supervising judge to award incentives and sanctions based upon the performance of the clients while in treatment.   Treatment is community based and drug court participants are required to meet with the judge on a regular basis to review progress.   Drug court clients are tested regularly and are required to attend varying levels of treatment based upon the individual needs of each client.


Drug courts are organized based upon the following components:

•  Drug testing must be incorporated into case processing.
•  The creation of a relationship between the court and the defendant that is non-adversarial.
•  Defendants must be screened and referred to treatment shortly after arrest.
•  There must be access to a continuum of treatment, rehabilitation, and educational services.
•  There must be frequent, mandatory drug testing to monitor abstinence.
•  Each court must establish a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to govern the court's responses to the compliance or non-compliance of the drug court client.
•  Each drug court must maintain judicial interaction with each drug court client.
•  Drug courts must be monitored and evaluated regularly.
•  There must be continuing training that is interdisciplinary to promote best practices for both treatment and court operations.
•  Drug courts must be based upon partnerships between public and private agencies to support and maintain operations.

(More information about these 10 key components of drug courts from the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Courts Program Office)

Drug Courts in Louisiana


There were 49 operational drug court programs in Louisiana in 2017, comprised of 32 adult drug courts, 13 juvenile drug courts, and four family preservation courts. Of these 49 programs, 37 have been in operation 10 years or longer. Each program is comprised of a drug court team which is led by a drug court judge and includes a drug court coordinator, treatment staff, a prosecutor, a public defender, law enforcement representatives, a case manager, and other stakeholders. Drug court teams use a non-adversarial approach to ensure that participants receive the highest level of care possible. Teams also work together to ensure program operations adhere to all applicable standards and policies.

As an effective alternative to incarceration, Louisiana drug courts are demanding programs that require frequent and random drug testing, intensive treatment, judicial oversight, and community supervision and support to assure the best possible outcomes for offenders with substance abuse problems. Funds for Louisiana’s drug courts are appropriated by the Louisiana Legislature and administered by the Supreme Court Drug and Specialty Court Office. The Supreme Court Drug and Specialty Court Office awards funds annually to programs statewide. Additionally, the Supreme Court Drug and Specialty Court Office closely monitors each program both fiscally and programmatically throughout the year.


For more information about drug courts in Louisiana, please contact the Supreme Court Drug and Specialty Court Office at (504) 568-2020.


Supreme Court Drug and Specialty Court Office Brochure


Louisiana Supreme Court Drug and Specialty Court Office Staff:

Kerry K. Lentini, JD

Deputy Judicial Administrator

Supreme Court Drug and Specialty Court Office Program Director


(504) 568-2025

Pat Angell

Administrative Assistant


(504) 568-2020

Johanna Braud

Accounting Manager


(504) 568-2032

Virginia Williams

Program Services Manager


(504) 568-3552

Veronica Lee Scott

Accountant/Fiscal Monitor


(504) 556-9989

Jerry Tassin
Data Analyst
(504) 568-2276

Jan Tolar
Program Monitor
(504) 556-5632

Supreme Court Drug and Specialty Court Office

1555 Poydras Street, Suite 1550

New Orleans, LA 70112-3701

(504) 568-2027 - Fax

Other relevant web sites:

- National Center for State Courts

- Drug Court Clearinghouse at American University

- National Association of Drug Court Professionals and National Drug Court Institute

- Louisiana Association of Drug Court Professionals

- Center for Substance Abuse Research

- National Center on Addictions and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

- State Justice Institute

- National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health

- U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

- National Institute of Justice

- Bureau of Justice Assistance

- Justice Management Institute

- National Criminal Justice Reference Service


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Louisiana Supreme Court, 400 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130
Clerk of Court's Office (504) 310-2300
Judicial Administrator's Office (504) 310-2550
Law Library of Louisiana (504) 310-2400
Email: webmaster@lasc.org

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