Treatment retention in the Drug Intervention Programme: Do primary drug users fare better than primary offenders?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • S Homayoun
  • H Lenton
  • R Moverley
  • M Openshaw


Aims: The Drug Intervention Program (DIP) was set up to reduce drug-related crime by engaging drug-using offenders in treatment. However, the limited evidence that exists would suggest that reconviction rates are high, and are linked to failure to complete the treatment programme. This study examined completion rates in one DIP programme by crime behaviours and drug use. Method: A retrospective case-note method based on all files opened over a three-month window, examining outcomes three months after the last case was opened. A total of 123 files were examined. Results: While less than 5% of cases were successfully completed, some form of positive outcome was reported in 14% of cases, 57% had negative outcomes (such as breaching the requirements of the order or failure to attend) and 29% were still open 6 months after the start of the programme. Negative outcomes were associated with more intensive criminal histories and lower levels of drug use in the month prior to intake to DIP. Open cases were typically associated with fewer previous incarcerations but higher levels of current drug use. Conclusions: Relatively few cases had positive outcomes, although treatment retention exceeded expectations in around one quarter of cases. The analysis provides tentative support for the suggestion that drug users accessing treatment through the criminal justice system can be broadly split into drug-using offenders and offending drug users, and these two groups have differing outcomes in criminal justice treatment interventions.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalDrugs education prevention and policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008