Shaun Floerke

CHUM

"They don't usually like the court at first," admits Deb Holman, ruefully.

But an innovative collaboration between legal professionals and community support service providers (Holman is a Street Outreach Worker for CHUM) is helping to break the cycle of homelessness, chemical dependency, mental illness and crime.

Michael Coghlan/Flickr

St Louis County Judge Shaun Floerke thinks "treatment court" is much better description than "drug court."

Whatever you call it, it keeps the public safer, has a much better outcome for the drug offender and realizes a huge cost savings for everyone.

But can a new approach to drug crimes fly in the "land of 10,000 bootstraps," where if you're an addict, for instance, you need to "just stop it"?

Floerke says if punishment - or negative consequences cured addiction, there wouldn't be a problem.  But it doesn't -- and there is.