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Pima County's Unified Medication Assisted Treatment Targeted Engagement Response (U-MATTER)


Program Name: U-MATTER

Location: Pima County, Arizona

Partner Agencies: Police Departments, County Sheriff’s Office, Fire/EMS Departments, Public Health agencies, Behavioral Health agencies, Peer organizations, Family and Advocacy organizations, Faith-based organizations, Hospitals, District Attorney's Office

Site population: 1,000,000

Pathway: Self-Referral, Active Outreach, Naloxone Plus, Officer Prevention, Officer Intervention

Year Started: 2018


Pima County’s Unified Medication Assisted Treatment Targeted Engagement Response (U-MATTER) program grew out of Tucson Police Department’s Mental Health Support Team (MHST), nationally recognized as a BJA Learning Site for Mental Health. In response to the crisis, the unit expanded to include 10 officers, 2 detectives, 2 sergeants, 2 mental health co-responders, and 2 peer support specialists that provide outreach and engagement for substance use treatment services. Officers receive specialized training in addiction science, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), and motivational interviewing. Individuals come to the program through self-referral, a social-referral, or contact with officers outside of an agency facility; charges are presented but police "deflect" individuals to treatment and away from the criminal justice system; active team outreach is conducted to areas where at-risk subjects are found to engage in services and provide information and naloxone; and the program supports post overdose engagement in treatment and recovery. Current research with the partnership of the University of Arizona Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) collect and analyze data to determine the effectiveness of engagement with police, recidivism, and indicators of wellness such as vocational engagement, housing stability, and physical well-being for those who remain in MAT treatment.

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