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Court Responses to the Opioid Epidemic: Happening Now

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2019
8 pages

This document provides an overview of some of the strategies being used across the U.S. by courts and justice system practitioners to prevent overdose deaths and save lives.


This document addresses some of the specific challenges for the justice system that are posed by the opioid epidemic. Increased numbers of opioid-related arrests and jails becoming responsible for the detoxification of incarcerated opioid users are two of the pressures faced by justice officials that have led to the development of opioid intervention courts, beyond the previous drug courts model. The document provides information about specific opioid intervention courts across the U.S., discussing the challenges they face and how they have worked to meet their local community needs. The courts featured in the document are: Buffalo Opioid Intervention Court, in New York; Cumberland County Opioid Intervention Court, in Pennsylvania; Gila County Opiate Treatment Court, in Arizona; Brown County Opiate Treatment Court, in Wisconsin; and Recovery Oriented Compliance Strategy, in Tennessee. Diversion programs highlighted by the document are: Treatment Pathway Program, in Connecticut; and in New York City, New York, the Overdose Avoidance and Recovery Program, and the Heroin Overdose Prevention and Education Program.