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Law Enforcement and First Responder Deflection Pathways to Deflection Case Studies Series: Active Outreach Pathway

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2022
30 pages

This article focuses on one of the six pathways of first responder deflection programs, which redirect individuals with substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and co-occurring disorders away from incarceration and into the appropriate community-based treatment programs.


This article provides case studies of law enforcement and first responder deflection programs. Those deflection programs provide pivotal opportunities to redirect individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs), mental health disorders (MHDs), and co-occurring disorders away from placement in jails or emergency departments and, instead, connect them to community-based treatment for substance use, mental health services, recovery support, and housing and social services. There are six frameworks, or “pathways,” of first responder deflection, each of which addresses specific public safety challenges faced by first responders, which are: self-referral; active outreach; naloxone plus; first responder and officer referral; officer intervention; community response. This article focuses on one of those six frameworks: the Active Outreach Pathway. It describes the pathway’s origin, how it works, the ten critical elements of active outreach initiatives, and provides case studies demonstrating the use of the pathway.