Standards on Substance Abuse: Standard XIV. Standards for treatment providers

Standards prepared by the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Substance Abuse

Table of Contents

Standard XIV

Courts should order substance abuse treatment through providers licensed by the Department of Public Health (DPH) to treat substance abuse, licensed by the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to treat mental illness, jointly licensed by DPH and DMH to treat both substance abuse and mental illness, or approved by the Probation Department or the Office of Community Corrections as qualified to provide substance abuse treatment. Subject to established rules of confidentiality, the Probation Department should require providers to communicate regularly and candidly with the court regarding a party's compliance with court- ordered behavior and treatment.


The Commissioner of Probation and the Office of Community Corrections should promulgate criteria for courts to use in selecting treatment providers to receive court referrals. These criteria should not apply to self help recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Referrals to providers should not involve even the appearance of a conflict of interest. The criteria for treatment providers should include at least the following:

  1. As a condition of court-ordered treatment, the provider should require the party to sign a release authorizing the provider to disclose information to the probation department about the party's progress in treatment and compliance with treatment orders. The release should state how much and what kind of information is to be disclosed, but the release should not be unlimited: it should not call for the disclosure of all confidential communications between the party and the treatment provider. This release should be in addition to the consent kept in the files of the Probation Department under Standard XII, and, in a criminal case, neither the consent nor the release should be rescinded during the period of probation supervision. See 42 CFR Ch. 1, Subpart C, §2.35(c).
  2. The provider's treatment staff should be available to consult with the Probation Department to the extent allowed by the terms of the release.
  3. The provider should submit periodic, written progress reports to the probation officer which disclose the party's attendance record, compliance with treatment orders, and any drug testing results, and should submit a written report in case of any non- compliance.
  4. The provider should notify the probation department immediately with respect to any serious non-compliance, including any positive drug tests of the party.
  5. The provider should furnish the court with a final discharge report when the party completes the treatment. The reason for the discharge should be clearly documented.
  6. The provider's treatment protocol should include comprehensive relapse prevention services delivered according to a model of proven effectiveness.



Main number (617) 557-1000
Clerks' Offices Emergency Number (857) 275-8036
Clerk's Office for the Commonwealth (617) 557-1020

Francis V. Kenneally, Clerk

Clerk's Office for the County of Suffolk (617) 557-1100

Maura S. Doyle, Clerk

Public Information Office (617) 557-1114

Jennifer Donahue, Public Information Officer


John Adams Courthouse
1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500
Boston, MA 02108

Help Us Improve with your feedback