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Expand Law Enforcement Diversion and First Responder Models That Connect Individuals to Substance Use and Misuse Treatment and Recovery Support Services

Divert Nonviolent Drug Offenders from Prosecution and Connect Individuals to Substance Use and Misuse Treatment and Recovery Support Services.

Law enforcement and other first responders are on the front lines of addressing illicit substance use and misuse, responding to frequent drug overdoses and calls for services involving individuals with substance use and misuse and co-occurring disorders. A variety of multidisciplinary law enforcement diversion and first-responder models have emerged in communities throughout the nation that reduce and prevent overdoses and connect individuals to treatment services and recovery supports. These models often include first responders working in partnership with behavioral health treatment providers and peer recovery coaches.

COSSUP supports activities that:

  • Implement law enforcement diversion and first-responder models that include partnerships with public health and/or behavioral health designed to divert individuals with substance use and misuse and co-occurring disorders from the criminal justice system and connect these individuals to comprehensive, evidence-based substance use and misuse treatment services. This can include the use of data analytics that support collaborative activities between public health and public safety, and, in areas where human trafficking is prevalent, activities that strengthen partnerships between human trafficking task forces and substance use and misuse treatment providers.
  • Implement or enhance access to a comprehensive continuum of community-based substance use treatment for individuals with substance use disorder and co-occurring disorders to ensure that appropriate treatment services are available when an individual is diverted from the criminal justice system. Transitional and recovery housing may be provided as part of a comprehensive response strategy; however, only 30 percent of COSSUP funds may be used for this activity.

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Grantee Projects

Seneca Nation of Indians

New York

The Seneca Nation of Indians Peacemakers Court will address the increasing number of opioid overdoses and overdose-related deaths in the Seneca National Territories by reducing reliance on emergency health care and the criminal justice system by high-frequency opioid users. In partnership with Seneca Strong, a community-based drug and alcohol prevention and recovery program, the Peacemakers Court will create a community-driven, culturally competent diversion project that will specifically target Native American opioid utilizers who have a high number of contacts with multiple systems. The project coordinator will assemble a multidisciplinary team responsible for developing the program’s policy and procedures. Programming will include culturally specific professionals and confidential trainings and individualized wraparound services, in addition to a data analysis.
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City of Holyoke


The Holyoke Police Department will use funds primarily for salaries that support a project coordinator, a narcotics intervention officer, a recovery coach, and a mental health supervisor. Through the Project Recovery and Engagement of Addicts and Chronic users of Heroin (REACH) Project, the Holyoke Police Department will address the significant opiate drug problem in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Project goals are to decrease the number of overdose victims, decrease the number of narcotics crimes, and increase the support systems for people addicted to opioids in Holyoke.
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Kenton County Detention Center


The Kenton County Detention Center will reduce the prevalence of opioid misuse in Covington, Kentucky. In 2015, northern Kentucky lost nearly five times more residents to drug overdoses than to car accidents. This project proposes to address the issue by implementing the Kentucky Overdose Prevention and Education Project (KOPE), which has three main goals: to conduct an analysis of the severity of the opioid crisis; develop a multidisciplinary approach to address the needs of overdose survivors; and incentivize, propagate, and support pre-arrest diversion and naloxone distribution programs in the targeted region. This proposal will support naloxone distribution programs in the region. The Kenton County Detention Center will collaborate with local police departments and health-care and rehabilitation providers. Northern Kentucky University will serve as an action research partner.
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