(Chicago) — Jac Charlier, executive director of TASC’s Center for Health and Justice (CHJ), and Ben Ekelund, director of CHJ, have
co-authored an issue
brief for the National Drug Court Resource Center to support law enforcement officers in responding to people with substance use disorders.
“Substance use disorders and addiction are the single greatest drivers of people’s contact with the justice system,” says Charlier. “This brief is part of our array of training and technical assistance to support law enforcement and justice leaders in deflecting and diverting people from the justice system into community-based treatment.”
the opioid crisis continues to ravage
communities and families across the country, and methamphetamine use is
rapidly growing, the frequency of law enforcement officers acting as first “health” responders to active users has risen. To assist law enforcement in managing this role and in capitalizing on opportunities to deflect and divert people into treatment, the Justice Programs Office (JPO) at American University enlisted Charlier and Ekelund to author the brief, Accessing Substance Use Disorder and Related Treatment
Services Training for Law Enforcement.
“Our goal is for officers to be able to play their best role in assisting those facing addiction to get treatment and move into recovery,” says Ekelund. “Pre-arrest diversion to treatment, or deflection, gives officers options for responding to the opioid and other drug crises happening in front of them every day.”
The brief describes existing methods available to train law
enforcement at all levels (e.g., officer, systems) and equip them for action in
responding to addiction. It also briefly proposes suggestions for future
training content. These ideas offer a starting point in this emerging policy
and training area.
The National Drug Court Resource Center (NDCRC) is housed at the Justice Programs Office, a center in American University’s School of Public Affairs, and is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.