A man who initially had no intention of complying with drug court orders, viewing the programs as "a ticket out of jail", turned out to be just one of many worldwide success stories.
While the ACT's new Drug and Alcohol Sentencing List is not part of a standalone court, its approach bears the hallmarks of about 4000 drug courts around the world.
In explaining the goals of the ACT's approach this week, Acting Justice Lorraine Walker referred to a TEDx Talk from Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau, from the US state of New Hampshire.
Chief Justice Nadeau said for addicts, prison cultivated addiction and helped turn them into more effective criminals.
Cases like that of a drug addict named David, who first entered the justice system on heroin possession charges, proved this.
While serving a suspended sentence, David attempted to time his drug use around testing and violated the terms of his probation four times.
"After each violation, his sentence increased, and after each release, his addiction continued until finally he was arrested for felony burglary at age 25 and he headed to state prison for three years," Chief Justice Nadeau said.
"I asked myself, as a Superior Court judge, how can I sit in the courtroom every day and send someone like David to jail over and over again, knowing it doesn't work?"
She believed a drug court would help reduce reoffending by ordering treatment that addressed the underlying causes of criminal behaviour.
Chief Justice Nadeau said a local study had shown that of 100 inmates leaving prison after one year inside at a cost of $30,000 each, 70 would reoffend.
However, when 100 people graduated from drug court programs at a cost of $8000 each, only 22 would reoffend.
One success story that resulted from the drug court approach was a US man named Paul, whose father would take him to drug deals when he was five. He later had an abusive, alcoholic stepfather, leading him to start using alcohol and cannabis at the age of nine. By 13, he was selling and using cocaine daily and when his parents moved away, he lived out of a car selling drugs.
Chief Justice Nadeau said Paul spent his early 20s using heroin and overdosed eight times.
Eventually, he landed in a drug court on "some pretty serious charges" after spending 30 of his 40 years using drugs.
Paul openly admitted having no intention of complying with drug court orders, viewing them as "a ticket out of jail".
But as he went through the process, which included random drugs tests twice a week and weekly court appearances to provide updates on his rehabilitation, Chief Justice Nadeau said Paul began to regain the respect of his family and friends, leading him to fully engage in treatment.
She said Paul now volunteered at a homeless shelter, had stable housing, a job and a chance to be a good grandfather.
"Drug courts are not soft on crime, they're effective on crime," she said.