Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Schuylkill County Awarded $177,743 Grant for Opioid Use Disorder Criminal Justice Diversion Programs

Governor Tom Wolf announced Tuesday that the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) is awarding nearly $1.5 million in federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants to seven local Single County Authorities (SCAs) to coordinate criminal justice diversion programs for individuals with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

“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.”

“Drug courts and police diversion programs are successful nationwide at rehabilitating individuals and breaking the cycle of recidivism,” DDAP Sec. Jennifer Smith said. “I look forward to learning about each program’s success and the lives impacted throughout their local communities.”

Schuylkill County is set to receive $177,743.

Awarded SCAs will use funding to implement new programs and expand existing programs like the PA Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), administered through the Office of the Attorney General. Awardees will collaborate with local police departments, the district attorney, and treatment providers to provide coordinated treatment and support services for individuals whose criminal behavior is directly due to their substance use disorder.

The grants are part of the $55.9 million SAMSHA grant secured by the Wolf Administration to bolster the state’s response to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.

During Gov. Wolf’s second term, DDAP is placing a heavy focus on reducing stigma associated with substance use disorder, intensifying primary prevention efforts, strengthening treatment systems, and empowering sustained recovery. The aim of these efforts is to positively influence the knowledge and behavior around the topic of addiction.

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