Changing Perceptions of Youth Participating in Drug Court

Written by Josh Bohman and Tricia Lucido, Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Court Team (OH)
The Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Court recently experienced a name change. We are now known as the Montgomery County Juvenile Treatment Court. This change was primarily made due to the overwhelming number of youth referred to the program who present with dual-diagnoses. Youths accepted into the Montgomery County Juvenile Treatment Court are often struggling with trauma and other mental health-related conditions, in addition to their alcohol and/or drug issues. 
We discovered our youth experience negative, pre-conceived perceptions from the community when their peers and community members learn they are participating in a drug court. Such stigmatization, in turn, produced more negative effects, such as increased rates of substance abuse and decreased motivation to continue receiving much needed treatment. The name change reflects the Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Treatment Court's efforts to provide holistic treatment to address mental health as well as substance use issues. We encourage our youth and families to embrace treatment. 
We hope the name change will contribute to improving attitudes and reducing stereotypes in the community about youths with mental health issues and addictions. Montgomery County Juvenile Treatment Court Judge, The Honorable Anthony Capizzi, commented on the name change as a reflection of the program’s goals - 

 “We seek to encourage the community to work with our youth as mentors and collaborators, and to see the youth as individuals with needs who can recover and be productive contributors to society.” 

With our holistic approach, we hope to positively impact the present so we can reclaim the future. 
Is your juvenile drug court considering a name change? Contact us if you need additional information or clarification for renaming your juvenile drug court. Send your questions to Eloisa Chaparro at 

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