Through the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), nearly $1.5 million in federal grants will be doled out to seven local authorities to push criminal justice diversion programs targeting those with Opioid Use Disorder.
“Unfortunately, individuals suffering from OUD often have criminal justice involvement, but throwing the individual in jail does not address the actual problem – the illness,” said Gov. Wolf. “These grants will help establish new programs to provide an alternative to incarceration and potentially get more people into treatment and recovery.”
The announcement, made by Gov. Tom Wolf this week, comes care of federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants. These are part of a larger $55.9 million grant meant to buoy the state’s response to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. Funds will go to the Montgomery, Lancaster, Somerset, Lawrence, Bucks, Lackawanna/Susquehanna, and Schuylkill single county authorities.
“Drug courts and police diversion programs are successful nationwide at rehabilitating individuals and breaking the cycle of recidivism,” DDAP Secretary Jennifer Smith said. “I look forward to learning about each program’s success and the lives impacted throughout their local communities.”
This is part of a broader effort by DDAP to reduce societal stigmas surrounding substance use disorder and to focus on prevention, treatment, and sustained recovery. Some of the funding will be used to create new programs to this end, while others will expand existing programs. All awardees are expected to collaborate with local police departments, the district attorney, and treatment providers for coordinated treatment and support services to help criminals whose behaviors are tied to their substance use disorders.