An integrated public health and public safety approach may take many different forms. There are numerous opportunities for the justice and treatment systems to integrate, complement, and support one another. When an individual enters the justice system, it is critical to screen and assess alcohol and other drug problems and possible co-occurring mental and physical health problems. When an individual progresses through the justice system, opportunities for integration with the treatment system continue—the court may refer an individual with substance problems to treatment, mental health care, family therapy, 12-Step programs, drug courts, and/or social services, such as housing, job training, and job placement.

Building an Integrated System

The development and implementation of integrated services is a huge challenge, requiring unique approaches for different regions and different courts. Judicial leadership is the key component to integrating systems. Judges are the senior partner at the table and are able to bring stakeholders together to develop collaborative solutions to alcohol and other drug problems in the justice system (Anderegg et al., 2006).