The Drug Treatment Court (DTC) is a District Court that provides supervised treatment, education and rehabilitation for offenders with problem drug use. It is an alternative to custody. You must have pleaded guilty or have been convicted of non-violent crimes in the District Court. You (or your solicitor) can then ask the judge to remand you to the Drug Treatment Court. It will be up to the judge to decide whether to send you to the Drug Treatment Court.

To succeed you have to show that you are prepared to be drug free (other than prescribed medications) and make positive changes in your life. The DTC judge and team work together to support you in keeping to the programme which is designed to suit your needs. There are rewards if you are doing well and also a scale of sanctions if you are not complying with the programme.

At the Drug Treatment Court, a member of An Garda Síochána will check your previous convictions.  Road traffic matters are not accepted before the court and you should have no outstanding Circuit Court matters.  A history of violent offending may prevent you from joining the programme.  We expect that you will not re-offend while you are on the DTC programme.   Once you are accepted into the programme, your charges before the District Court are put on hold.

You will also meet with a probation officer, the education coordinator and the liaison nurse.  We will request a probation report. The liaison nurse will agree a treatment plan with you and once your treatment plan is signed in court you are officially in Phase 1 - Bronze.

You will move through three phases, bronze, silver and gold, depending on your progress.

You will move through three phases, bronze, silver and gold, depending on your progress.

Phases of the Programme

First phase: Bronze

You need to come to court weekly, with the aim of stopping heroin, cocaine and amphetamine use. You need to attend probation appointments and take part in an agreed education or training programme or have a job.

You must meet with the DTC team every 6 - 8 weeks to agree a plan called a Personal Progression Plan. You can use this to measure your progress. This meeting also reviews when you are ready for the next phase.

Second phase: Silver

You have to come to court once every two weeks to monitor your progress. You must continue to reduce your use of non-prescribed tablets specifically benzodiazepines and zimovane with the aim of stopping use. You must also continue with your education, training or employment.

Final phase: Gold

You must come to court once a month, remain illicit drug free, stop cannabis use, attend your probation officer and all appointments, including counselling.  You will start preparing a life plan to follow without DTC supervision after you graduate from the programme.

During the different phases you will also need to come to group sessions to explain the programme in more detail, offending behaviour, personal skills and addiction awareness.  You will have appointments with the team members and you can contact them if you are experiencing difficulties. Their job is to help you succeed on the programme.


When you have completed all three phases of the programme you graduate from the DTC.  Your graduation ceremony is a special occasion where you can celebrate achieving your goals and being drug free.  Your offences before the DTC will be struck out at graduation.  There are some conditions you must keep when the judge strikes out your charges.  You must follow your agreed post-graduation life plan, keep the peace and not reoffend.

If you reoffend during the 12 months following graduation your charges may be re-entered.

The judge will issue a sanction or end your programme immediately if you:

  • carry a weapon
  • are violent or threaten violence
  • bring any illegal drugs to court or to any DTC activity
  • engage in suspicious behaviour