Controlled Substance and Alcohol

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Referral-based session

Possession of THC • Paraphernalia • Incidents where alcohol or substances led to unlawful or disruptive behavior

An intensive intervention or prevention program addressing substance citations or issues. The session is a group dialogue focusing on accountability and future responsibility, consequences and support. Participants are part of a discussion, including a speaker who has been directly impacted by substance use or abuse. They follow a specific curriculum with timelines and goals. Participants complete and sign a restorative justice agreement to commit to better, safer behavior. The group discusses alternatives to using and risky behavior. Individuals seeking additional support or treatment are connected to local human service and community agencies.

Program Rating 96%
96% rated the session as good or excellent.

Most individuals are referred by a local court or school, typically due to misdemeanor possession charges or incidents where alcohol lead to unlawful or disruptive behavior. A strength of SCV Restorative Justice services is that our sessions can address more than just the behavior or incident for the referral. Provided with a standard structure and curriculum, groups can discuss their personal experiences and what their plan will be moving forward to prevent future issues.

By addressing issues in a small, focused group intervention, we can provide services in a timely manner, with an average turnaround time of completion within a month of the referral. This allows an intensive intervention as to not over-respond to minor issues, while providing a foundation for compliance and sincere, active engagement in probation or treatment if there are ongoing substance issues or concerns.

Individuals compliant in drug court or probation who are looking for community service are invited to become a part of the central group of community members; service hours aim to help with integration back into the community and ongoing commitment to positive behavior change.

2017 Full Year Data

0% 21 or younger
16% are under 18 years old
0% Male
28% female


0% will change their behavior
60% report they will reduce risk by completely avoiding controlled substances or alcohol as a result of the session
0% Speaker effectiveness
Rated their speaker as effective

All data has been anonymously summarized from self-assessment forms completed at-will by session participants.

Restorative Justice is not a lecture-based philosophy. Our services follow a format that is tuned to each group to meet individuals where they are at currently, providing an intervention for risky behaviors and focusing on preventing further harm. Before attending the session, 67.8% of participants report that they have a safety plan for drinking, while only 55.5% self-report that they have a plan when they use other substances. 65.8% report that they do regularly take precautions to keep themselves safe. We aim to make it a priority for everyone to plan and prepare to keep themselves and others safe.

The goal of the session is for each participant to reduce the risk of harm from continued use of alcohol and other substances, and to acknowledge that their choices impact others. While abstinence is ideal and may be the only legal option, goals may be incremental. Intermediate goals can increase success and may build up to long-term goals or aid treatment.

Referring teens and young adults to preventative services helps teach kids to be aware of the issues and impact of alcohol and controlled substances. Sometimes, youth may not fully disclose their experiences with their family or parents. The criminal justice system or school may not have a record of past behavior. Services are confidential, and attendance is not admission of past behavior.

We focus on preventing harm and risky choices. If there are concerns about substance abuse or addiction, we can help connect individuals to helpful and local resources.

While an overwhelming majority of participants are referred to the intervention session for possession of THC or paraphernalia, some participants self-report that they have experimented with multiple substances in their lifetime. The group looks at their experiences utilizing evidence-based curriculum and a restorative, harm-reduction model.

  • 97.5% Marijuana or pot
  • 31.4% Adderall, amphetamines or uppers
  • 8.5% Methamphetamine
  • 12.7% Ecstasy
  • 16.9% Cocaine (powder or crack)
  • 22.9% Hallucinogens (mushrooms, LSD, DMT)
  • 0.8% Inhalants (duster, glue)
  • 12.7% Opiates (heroin, codeine, painkillers)
  • 0.8% PCP (phencyclidine)
  • 5.1% Synthetic drugs
  • 3.4% Other – Typically reporting alcohol or tobacco use

Participants frequently self-report that they first used a controlled substance at or around the same age that they first began drinking alcohol.

Impaired and distracted driving is a public safety concern. SCV Restorative Justice frequently addresses safe driving practices in our sessions, and the real impact and consequences of car crashes and traffic fatalities. We not only address not getting behind the wheel after drinking, but refusing to ride with an impaired driver. Safety and exit planning are discussed at length.

  • 35.0% report driving shortly after having two or three drinks.
  • 20.2% report driving shortly after having four or more drinks.
  • 46.7% report driving shortly after using controlled substances.

What do you think of your current habits?

“Don’t have any, shouldn’t even be here. Waste of time and money. I’m a broke college student wasting my studying time and my food money for the week. The regulations need to be changed.”

Female participant, 2016
Reported prior to the session

What did you learn from this session?

“Never take life for granted. Be happy, be healthy, be kind, and lend a helping hand to whoever may need it.”

What impact did the speaker have on you?

“An insane amount. I wish I could speak with her more and get to know her better. I will never forget her story or take my life for granted.”

Same participant
Reported after completing the session