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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.
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.
- Roy L. Austin, Jr., Deputy Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs, Justice, & Opportunity, White House Domestic Policy Council
- Brendan Cox, Chief, Albany Police Department
- Alice Green, Executive Director, The Center for Law and Justice
- The Honorable Michael McMahon, District Attorney, Richmond County, Staten Island
- gabriel sayegh, Co-founder, Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice
- Brian Byrd (Moderator), Program Officer, New York State Health Foundation
All interested funders.
2:45-3:00 PM Check-in
3:00-5:00 PM Program
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