The Portsmouth City Health Department (PCHD) was awarded funding, in an amount not to exceed $635,000, through The Rural Responses to the Opioid Epidemic solicitation released by the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) and is designed to leverage the combined resources and expertise of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA); the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the State Justice Institute (SJI), along with other federal partners, to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with opioid overdoses among individuals who come in contact with law enforcement or are involved in the criminal justice system in high-risk rural communities and regions.
The primary focus of this initiative is preventing and reducing overdose deaths associated with opioids, including illicit fentanyl, and advancing a shared understanding of the patterns and characteristics of problem drug use in a local community.
With this funding, PCHD’s navigation program Recovery Gateway, will work with Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman, Scioto County Judges and local law enforcement to understand and address problem drug use in our community.
The Recovery Gateway Program has partnered with Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman to develop an Early Intervention Program for individuals facing non-violent criminal charges. Through this program, participants have the opportunity to receive evidence-based treatment to address the complexities of addiction. Successful completion of the program will provide participants forgiveness of the criminal charge from their record, reducing barriers to future employment opportunities while learning more effective coping strategies.
Prosecutor Shane Tieman says, “The Early Intervention Program is an opportunity for those facing low level drug possession charges to address their addiction prior to an indictment. Oftentimes, the indictment process takes several weeks and this delay allows individuals to sink further into their addiction. With earlier intervention, there is a better chance at recovery and prevention of further criminal behavior. We can hold people accountable but give them an opportunity to change. The Portsmouth City Health Department has backed these efforts to assist in getting people to address these issues in a proactive way. Hopefully, with their efforts, we can change the path these individuals are walking and restore them to productive and healthy citizens in our community.”
The Recovery Gateway team is excited to be part of the transition from stigma to support for those struggling with addiction in our community.