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Drug Treatment and Testing Order (DTTO)

 

What is a DTTO?

A DTTO is a court order that is aimed at assisting offenders to reduce their drug use and related offending.  Before being placed on such an order the offender must give agreement and must be willing to:

- accept treatment for drug misuse;

- be frequently and randomly drug tested;

- attend court on at least a monthly basis so that the Sheriff can review progress;

- be supervised by the DTTO Team (Social Work and Health Staff).

How successful are DTTOs?
DTTOs have now been operating in West Lothian since 2005, and we have seen a considerable reduction in offending from offenders who have been placed on such orders and have complied with them. Of the people who have so far completed DTTOs, we have seen that almost all of them have demonstrated a sustained reduction in illicit drug use and have become much better at avoiding risk-taking in their drug use. On average, four out of five people on DTTOs have showed improved physical health. Over two-thirds have reported sustained improvements in their relationships with partners and families, benefiting not just themselves but those around them.

 

Who is suitable for a DTTO?

DTTOs are for people who:

- are preferably over 21 and have appeared in court several times before for drug-related offending;

- have a history of drug misuse;

- want to change their life and avoid further offending;

- have pled guilty or been found guilty of drug-related offending on this occasion.

What happens after a person is referred for a DTTO assessment?

Following the completion of a Social Enquiry Report, the offender will be seen by a Social Worker, a Project Worker, and a Doctor/Nurse from the DTTO Team. They will each carry out different assessments. It is very important that offenders keep all of these appointments. The assessment process requires drug-testing, done by means of an oral swab. The DTTO report will be discussed with an offender before it goes to Court.

The Sheriff may ask the offender some questions in court. 
The Court may decide that someone is not suitable for a Drug Treatment and Testing Order; if this happens the case has to be dealt with in another way. 

 
What happens if someone gets a DTTO?

The offender is expected to do what the supervising Social Worker instructs.
Treatment will begin immediately.

One month from the date of getting an order (and about monthly after that) each person on a DTTO will attend a Review in Court when the Sheriff will consider their progress and look at their drug test results. This is different from other court cases - it is held in closed court (without the public being allowed in) and the Sheriff will discuss directly with you your progress.

Failure to comply with a Treatment Plan will result in a breach report being sent to the court. If this happens the Sheriff can sentence an offender for the original offence and is likely to consider the failure to comply to be a very serious matter. This may well result in a person receiving a custodial sentence.

 

What happens if an offender has a positive drugs test?

The Court expects offenders to reduce their drug taking and offending, but realises that this may be difficult and could take some time. It is important that people try to co-operate with their treatment programme and that they: 

- are honest about their drug use

- are open about the various other difficulties they have and try to deal with them

- tell people about their plans for the future.

Someone on a DTTO can challenge the results of a drug test and the Social Worker will give more information about this.

The staff of the DTTO Team will give all possible assistance but if offenders do not make any progress or fail to comply with conditions of their Order the Court may decide that the Order is not working. The court will then decide whether to allow the Order to continue or whether the Order should be brought to an end and another sentence imposed in its place. This could mean imprisonment.

 

What happens if someone offends when on a DTTO?

The Sheriff will want to know why and if an offender has been convicted. The Court might ask for another report that will say how the person has been getting on.

If someone is sent to prison during the course of a DTTO Order, a decision will be made about whether the order should continue. In normal circumstances, the DTTO Order will continue if imprisonment has been less than 4 months, either in custody or on remand awaiting court proceedings.


What are the roles of the different members of the DTTO Team?

Team Manager  - Project co-ordinator
Social Workers - are the case co-ordinator, who make sure that all the requirements of the law are met. They monitor compliance and attend reviews in court with people on orders.
Nursing Staff - assess for treatment programmes and co-ordinate associated healthcare needs. They provide individual and groupwork programmes specific to drug use and health issues and carry out drug-testing.
Project Workers - undertake behavioural change work using Cognitive-Behavioural and motivational interviewing techniques. Assesses suitability for and makes referrals to appropriate agencies, so that offenders can continue addressing various addiction issues after your order.
Doctors - carry out medical assessments and substitute-prescribing, and provide mental health support.

 

The Drug Treatment and Testing Order Team is now based within the Criminal Justice Office in West Lothian Civic Centre - 01506 280999

 

 

Updated: 07/09/11