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CHJ authored this Pathways to Diversion Case Studies Series focusing on officer intervention. 

CHJ is a COSSAP training and technical assistance partner and helps grantees implement evidence-based, systemic solutions at the front end of the justice system to respond to the substance use that often contributes to contact with the justice system.

Talk to us about how our CHJ team can create customized solutions for you and your community.

Law Enforcement and First Responder Diversion Pathways to Diversion Case Studies Series - Officer Intervention

Law enforcement officers and other first responders, such as emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and paramedics, are on the front line of addressing illicit substance use and misuse and responding to frequent drug overdoses and calls for services involving individuals with substance use and co-occurring disorders. In response, a variety of law enforcement led diversion and fire/emergency medical services (EMS)-led responses to the opioid crisis have emerged across the country. In partnership with substance use disorder (SUD) treatment providers, peers, and recovery personnel, these multidisciplinary programs are helping to reduce overdoses through connection to community-based treatment. Law enforcement and first responder diversion program models provide a pivotal opportunity to redirect individuals with SUD, mental health disorders (MHD), and co-occurring disorders away from placement in jails or emergency departments, and instead connect them to community-based treatment forsubstance use, mental health services, recovery support, housing, and social services....

Each pathway is associated with specific elements that work in different ways. Communities doing FRD often begin with a single pathway and then add additional pathways as their programs evolve. The pathway(s) implemented should be informed by a “problem solution” orientation, based on the specific problems to be addressed (e.g., substance use, mental health, housing instability) and how resources can be aligned to meet the needs of the target population to be served (e.g., treatment, recovery, stakeholder support). Further, diversion programs should provide a solution that is unique to each community—what works in one jurisdiction may not work in another. An important step in deciding which diversion pathway is the best fit is becoming familiar with all the pathways, what each is meant to address, and how they function....

The Officer Intervention Pathway

The Officer Intervention pathway is the only FRD that is a true pre-arrest diversion program, in that it can only be implemented with the participation and support of law enforcement agencies. As the gatekeepers of the justice system, police play an important role in connecting vulnerable individuals, including those with mental health and substance use disorders, to services and resources.