Mental Health, Autism & Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts

Information for magistrates, district judges and court staff

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iii. Alcohol Treatment Requirement and Drug Rehabilitation Requirement

The Alcohol Treatment Requirement (ATR) focuses on offenders who are dependent on alcohol or whose alcohol use contributes to their offending. The aim is to reduce or eliminate the offender’s dependency on alcohol. The Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR) focuses on offenders with drug abuse problems and whose drug use contributes to their offending. The offender works towards a drug free lifestyle with support from specialist agencies.

High numbers of offenders with mental health conditions also have problems with alcohol and drug abuse. This is known as dual diagnosis. Unfortunately, many mental health services are unwilling to work with individuals with substance misuse problems and vice versa.

Offenders with learning disabilities are unlikely to be able to cope with treatment requirements that have not been adapted to accommodate their particular needs. Additional support and/or special arrangements will be necessary, and should be made available, if you consider the ATR or DRR appropriate for them.

You will need to know whether services in your area are commissioned to work with offenders with mental health conditions and substance misuse issues before including both requirements in a Community Order. A drug or alcohol requirement could run in parallel with a MHTR. You might want to explore these options further with local service providers.

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