The drug courts which began in Miami in 1989 offered an alternative to a criminal justice system seen as failing with drug offenders. The judge also acts as a social worker, prosecutor and defender. Offenders are sent to treatment programmes but the court retains control of the offenders and the programme. Drug users dealt with in drug courts tend to commit fewer offences than those referred to conventional courts. In Britain they should be trialed in one or two cities and carefully evaluated.