Employment, employment-related problems, and drug use at drug court entry

Carl Leukefeld, Hope Smiley McDonald, Michele Staton, Allison Mateyoke-Scrivner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The literature indicates that employment may be an important factor for retaining substance misusing clients in treatment. Given the link between employment problems and treatment retention for Drug Court clients, the current project builds upon the existing services provided by Drug Courts in order to develop and implement an innovative model that focuses on obtaining, maintaining, and upgrading employment for Drug Court participants. The purpose of this article is to (1) describe the employment intervention used in Kentucky Drug Courts, which is grounded in established job readiness and life skill training approaches; and (2) profile those participants who were employed full-time prior to Drug Court and those who were not. Findings suggest that those employed full-time were more likely to have higher incomes and more earned income from legitimate job sources, although there were no differences in the types of employment (major jobs included food service and construction). In addition, study findings suggest that full-time employment was not "protective" since there were few differences in drug use and criminal activity by employment status. Employment interventions need to be examined to determine their utility for enhancing employment and keeping drug users in treatment. This article focuses on the initial 400 participants, who began entering the study in March, 2000.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2559-2579
Number of pages21
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number13-14
StatePublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Drug Court Employment Trial is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Grant DA#RO1 13076). Its overall purpose is to enhance existing intervention services in two Kentucky Drug Courts by implementing and examining an enhanced intervention. In specific terms, the project’s goals are:


  • "Protective factors"
  • Drug court
  • Employment
  • Intervention
  • Offenders
  • Treatment retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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