All court staff, treatment providers, prosecutors, police, defense counsel, correctional authorities, and the media should communicate clearly with one another on substance abuse issues. The first, regional administrative, or chief justice, as applicable, of each court should promote communication and collaboration on substance abuse issues within the court, as well as between the court and the community.
A relationship with the community is critical to ensuring the success of every court's response to substance abuse. It is important that the defense bar and assistant district attorneys understand that the clients and the community are the beneficiaries of the courts' actions with respect to substance abuse. Police should be encouraged to attend and, if possible, be part of the faculty in any court sponsored training program. The local bar association should be encouraged to take part in a public meeting where the courts' substance abuse strategy is explained. Probation officers should meet with treatment providers, in order to form collegial relationships and facilitate appropriate referrals. Of course, all court personnel should avoid creating any actual or apparent conflict of interest through their relationships with treatment providers. The business community and the schools have important roles to play in providing recovering substance abusers with jobs and education. Community-based organizations, including the faith community, can help to foster communication between the courts and the public regarding the courts' response to substance abuse services available in the community and the community's particular problems. The media should be made aware of the court's approach to substance abuse, and court leaders should consult with the court system's Public Information Office about outreach to the media concerning new initiatives and success stories. One way of forming and enhancing these community relationships is to establish an advisory committee for a court or group of courts as a forum for communication between the courts and the community. The community corrections advisory boards required by G.L. c. 211F, §6 and the Substance Abuse Leadership Teams formed during the Judicial Institute substance abuse training programs may also contribute to communication and collaboration on substance abuse issues within the courts and between the courts and the community.