Quick Response to Drug User is key to change…

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“The key in Rapid Referral was offering sticks and carrots and compressing everything to provide a compact experience and rapid response,” explained Ramniceanu. “If the judge got the defendant to agree to treatment, they were given a map with little footprints leading them right to our door.” At both Spectrum and Howard, 95 % of defendants showed up.Rapid Referral doesn’t involve bureaucracy or additional costs… Spectrum employs a well-tested protocol called MET/CBT5 (Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). The treatment is concentrated; many youths respond to six weekly sessions; others need 12 or more. For homework, they’re asked to write about their substance use. They have to undergo weekly urinalysis and continue counselling until they “sample sobriety.”This June, researchers from the Vermont Centre for Justice Research published an evaluation of Rapid Referral. Of 171 participants who went through Spectrum’s program since early 2009, the recidivism rate was just 18.7 %. For a follow-up evaluation published this October, researchers generated a test control group of 394 people (selected from 14,000 whose criminal records closely matched those of program participants). They found that the recidivism rate among the control group was 84.3 %. Many people were amazed. For more info read ‘Rapid Referral a better way.’

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