Intersections of Health and Justice: A Conversation on LEAD and New York’s Opioid Epidemic

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 -
3:00pm to 5:00pm EDT
Philanthropy New York, 1500 Broadway, 7th Floor, NYC
Members of PNY & Partner Orgs: 
Add to Calendar

Watch the video recording here: 

Watch Part II
Watch Part III

Health care costs associated with the current U.S. opioid epidemic total an estimated $25 billion, according to the CDC. Despite having the third-highest spending in the nation (more than $1.2 billion) to confront the challenge, New York’s opioid overdose death rate has equaled or exceeded the national rate every year since 2006.

Watch related content: This video features a conversation between a recovering addict, Seattle cop, and a case manager on their experience as some of the first participants in the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), a harm reduction program started in Seattle.

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, these types of overdose deaths have increased by 56% since 2010, with the Bronx having the fastest growth rate. Staten Island, however, has the highest rate of heroin-involved overdose deaths and the highest rate of opioid analgesic-involved overdose deaths out of the five boroughs.

One promising model being used to mitigate the epidemic is the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, an evidence-based, harm reduction-oriented program designed to reduce low-level arrests and recidivism, as well as to promote better health outcomes for participants. It focuses on improving access to services for participants in need of help for drug addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, pain management, stress alleviation, and other health-related issues. Instead of pursuing charges for certain low-level drug and criminal offenses, police officers, prosecutors, and defense attorneys work together to divert individuals from entering the maze of the criminal justice system. These individuals are then connected directly to a case manager for intensive, coordinated case management and targeted social services.

First launched in Seattle in 2011, LEAD was recognized by the White House Domestic Policy Council in July 2015 as an implementation strategy for the President's 21st Century Policing Commission recommendations for transforming police‐community relations. It is now being piloted in Albany, the first jurisdiction on the East Coast (and only the third in the nation) to launch the program. Albany Medical Center also has invested Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program funds to pay for LEAD’s case management infrastructure.

  • The impact of the opioid epidemic on New York, the LEAD model, and Albany’s experiences with implementing the program.
  • Whether this model could be applied to other drug use issues or mental health issues.
  • What are the broader implications of this model for policing practices and community relations.


Designed for

All interested funders.


2:45-3:00 PM Check-in
3:00-5:00 PM Program

Registration is required by September 12th.

Members: To register yourself and/or a colleague at your organization, please log in and click the Register Now link above.

Non-Member Funders: Create an account or log in above and click the Register Now link. ($150 fee)

Guests of Organizers: Please email with your name, title, organizational affiliation, business mailing address, and phone number.  Please indicate by which organizer you were invited.

In collaboration with

Find More By

Event type 
Related Organizations / Groups