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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 - Naloxone Plus

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’ cooccurring mental illness and substance abuse. In response, a variety of law enforcement-led diversion and fire/emergency medical services (EMS)-led responses (first-responder diversion [FRD]) to the opioid crisis have emerged across the country. In partnership with treatment, peers, and recovery personnel, these multidisciplinary programs are helping to reduce overdoses through connection to community-based treatment. Law enforcement and first-responder diversion [FRD] program models provide a pivotal opportunity to redirect individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs), including opioid use disorders (OUDs) and co-occurring disorders, away from placement in jails or emergency departments, instead connecting them to community-based substance use, mental health, 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 Naloxone Plus Pathway

A growing number of law enforcement officers and first responders across the country are administering naloxone to individuals to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. If these individuals are not subsequently and quickly connected to treatment, recovery support, and other needed resources, they are at high risk of experiencing another potentially fatal overdose. The Naloxone Plus pathway is centered on the connection of individuals to treatment and follow-up services after an opioid overdose. The emphasis in this pathway is on the Plus—administering naloxone or responding after an overdose plus the connection to treatment. Naloxone Plus is a national standard for law enforcement response in communities that have high rates of overdose.