Dubbo is set to be the home of the fourth drug court in NSW.
The NSW government announced on Thursday $27.9 million would be included in the 2021 state budget to establish a drug court in Dubbo.
Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said the investment would run over four years and would be expected to begin in the middle of 2022.
"This is a huge step forward, and to those who suggest that a drug court is a soft approach on drugs, I would say it certainly isn't," Mr Saunders said.
The specialist drug court, currently at Sydney, Parramatta and Toronto, is a multi-agency response to drug-related offending with the aim of keeping drug-dependent offenders out of prison.
So far the drug court has achieved impressive results, with the reoffending rate among participants 17 per cent lower than those outside the program.
NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said opening a drug court in regional NSW was part of a drive to be "tough and smart" on drug crime.
"A drug court is not a soft option for offenders," he said.
"If they breach the conditions of appearing in the drug court, they can go back to jail short term and ultimately, if they don't comply with their program, they will end up in jail."
The drug court enrols drug-dependent adults who have pleaded guilty to their charges in a 12-month program, which aims to break the cycle of addition and crime with health, education and social support.
As part of the program, participants have to submit to regular drug testing and court appearances. Prison remains an option if people do not complete the program successfully.
A new $3.5 million courtroom in Dubbo, which has recently been completed and opened, will be the home of the new drug court.
Mr Speakman said illicit drug abuse was a complex problem that destroyed the lives of users and also affected their communities and families.
"We know that many regional areas in NSW are affected by the scourge of drug addiction, ice in particular," he said.
"Dubbo is no exception and in fact, has a higher-than-average rate of substance abuse compared with the rest of NSW, and generally speaking, much higher crime rates than the rest of NSW."
"Most of that crime is drug driven, so we can break the cycle of crime and break the cycle of drug dependency.
"Generally people don't choose to be drug addicts, it's the product of trauma of difficult upbringings, of peer pressure, sometimes mental health issues, all these can combine to get someone on the wrong track.
"That's why the drug court is so important to get them back on the right track to break the cycle of crime to break the cycle of drug dependency and turn lives around.
"So this is a great day for criminal justice in Dubbo, it's a great day for the health of Dubbo citizens and it's a great day for community safety."