Substance Abuse

Why is it important to provide Substance Abuse services to offenders?

According to the United States Department of Justice, 70-80 percent of offenders are under supervision for drug-related offenses. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) successful drug abuse treatment in the criminal justice system can help reduce crime as well as the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases. It is estimated that for every dollar spent on addiction treatment programs, there is a $4 to $7 reduction in the cost of drug-related crimes. Studies show that treatment can cut drug abuse in half, reduce criminal activity up to 80 percent, and reduce arrests up to 64 percent. Treatment programs are the best alternative for interrupting the drug abuse and criminal justice cycle for offenders. Below are the principles of drug treatment for offenders under supervision that the Department follows:

  • Educate staff and offenders on how drug addiction affects behavior
  • Assessment is the first step in treatment
  • Tailoring services to fit the need of offenders is important with drug treatment
  • Recovery from drug addiction requires effective treatment, followed by management of the problem over time
  • Treatment must last long enough to produce stable behavioral change
  • Drug use during treatment should be monitored carefully
  • Treatment should target factors associated with criminal behaviors
  • Criminal justice supervision should incorporate treatment planning for drug abusing offenders
  • Continuity of care is essential for drug abusers re-entering the community
  • A balance of rewards and sanctions encourages pro-social behavior and treatment approach
  • Offenders with co-occurring drug abuse and mental health problems often require an integrated treatment approach
  • Treatment planning for drug abusing offenders who are living in or re-entering the community should include strategies to prevent and treat serious, chronic medical conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C and tuberculosis


How does Georgia Department of Corrections Provide Substance Abuse Services to Offenders?

The Substance Abuse unit provides effective evidence-based programming to appropriately referred offenders and continuous treatment based on needs. The unit utilizes Certified Addictions Counselors as much as possible to deliver high-quality substance abuse programming.

Substance Abuse Unit Staff Development

Addiction Certification Program
GDC has developed an Addiction Certification Program to meet the increasing need for Certified Addiction Counselors who are trained and qualified to deliver addiction services to high risk, high need offenders. GDC pays to send Counselors to school to receive the needed education component and also provides the clinical

Profile of Substance Abuse Services

Motivation for Change
Motivation for Change is considered an intervention rather than a program. It reduces the resistance participants have to more intensive programming and helps them identify for themselves where they are at in their stage of change with regard to their criminal behaviors, addictions, attitudes, values, and beliefs. This program meets the legal mandate for Substance abuse counseling and is a pre-requisite for all other programming needs.

Program Sites: State Prisons

Matrix Program- Early Recovery Skills (ERS)
The Early Recovery Skills Group is an eight-lesson program that is designed to help individuals begin the process of substance abuse recovery. It is a cognitive-behavioral, evidenced-based curriculum designed to teach basic recovery skills. An identified assessed need by Next Generation Assessment (NGA) or professional override is required for placement.

Program Sites: State Prisons

Matrix Relapse Prevention
The Relapse Prevention program is a 32-lesson skills-building group designed for 15 to 20 participants. This program explains basic counseling information in simple terms. An identified assessed need by the NGA or professional override is required for placement.

Program Sites: State Prisons

Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT)
Click on link above for more information on our RSAT programs/facilities

For More Information Contact:

Chandra S. Fussell, Senior Manager, Risk Reduction Services
Inmate Services Division

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1529
Forsyth, GA 31029



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