Doing a drug treatment order

You might be sent into treatment for your drug use, instead of into prison. This is called the Court Mandated Diversion Program, and involves drug treatment orders.

It’s done to address the issues behind your drug use and offending — and therefore hopefully help you break the link between your drug use and offending, and improve your life.

This is a strict program with many requirements that will take up a lot of your time. It is not an easy option.


You are eligible if you:

  • plead guilty, or are found guilty
  • have a history of drug use and offending linked to your drug use
  • are 18 years or over
  • are willing to participate in the program

You are not eligible if you:

  • have a current or outstanding sexual or significant violent offence
  • are subject to a Supreme Court Order or Parole Order

Court diversion officers

A court diversion officer will assess your suitability by asking about your previous and current drug use, criminal activity, and lifestyle.

The court diversion officer will also:

  • be your case manager throughout the program and help you meet your goals and make sure you get the most suitable treatments
  • give regular progress reports to the Magistrate

Drug treatment orders

A drug treatment order:

  • can last for 24 months
  • has a sentence attached, which means if you don’t successfully complete it, you could serve time in prison

Essentially, your sentence is ‘on hold’ while you take part in the program:

  • if you don’t successfully complete or comply with the program, you could be imprisoned or do community service
  • if you do successfully complete the program, your sentence could be cancelled or reduced

The program in detail

These restrictions are designed to help you recover from drug use and break the drug-crime cycle.

You must abstain from all illicit drug use.

Usually, you must also:

  • have regular, random urinalysis
  • go to regular face-to-face meetings with your court diversion officer
  • go to regular court reviews with a Magistrate
  • go to individual counselling and group programs

You may be offered residential rehabilitation and medically-supervised withdrawal.

You’ll also be offered services to help you improve your life skills, such as:

  • lessons in literacy and numeracy
  • programs addressing anger and family violence, gambling, parenting
  • employment services

There are three phases to the program:

Phase 1: Stabilisation (6 to 12 months)

  • Weekly case management
  • Weekly counselling
  • Random drug testing (at least once a week)
  • Regular court appearances

Phase 2: Consolidation (4 to 7 months)

  • Fortnightly case management
  • Fortnightly counselling
  • Random drug testing (at least once a fortnight)
  • Reduced court appearances

Phase 3: Re-integration (3 to 5 months)

  • Monthly case management
  • Monthly counselling
  • Random drug testing (at least once a month)
  • Reduced court appearances