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Drug Treatment and Testing Orders

A Drug Treatment and Testing Order (DTTO) is a court order that is aimed at assisting offenders to reduce their drug use and related offending. The order is managed by a partnership between the Criminal & Youth Justice Service and NHS Lothian.

Before being placed on a Drug Treatment and Testing 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. 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 mature enough to understand the need for change in their lives;
  • have previously appeared in court several times for drug-related offending;
  • have a history of drug misuse;
  • are now appearing in court for drug-related offending.

What happens if someone gets a DTTO?

Following an assessment, and if the court agrees to the use of a DTTO, treatment will begin immediately.

All DTTOs are reviewed regularly by the court. The Sheriff will consider the person's progress and look at their drug test results.

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. This may well result in the 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.

What happens if someone offends when on a DTTO?

The Sheriff will want to know if an offender has been convicted, and why. The Court may 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.