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Thanks to DelBene Amendment, DOJ Announces $24 Million in Grants for Opioid Use Diversion Programs

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Washington, September 27, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today lauded the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) announcement that as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), it has awarded $24 million in federal grants to localities to implement community-based substance use diversion programs and other treatment alternatives to incarceration to help address the opioid epidemic. Last year, President Obama signed CARA into law, which included a DelBene amendment authorizing these funds to scale-up a successful Washington state model to help individuals suffering from substance abuse.

“Opioid abuse is tearing apart families across the country, including in Washington state, and community diversion programs are an important step in addressing this epidemic,” DelBene said. “Addiction is a disease, not a crime. That’s why I’m pleased to see funds being allocated to expand community-based programs that offer a helping hand rather than jail time for those suffering from substance abuse. My amendment was inspired by the innovative work being done through Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, and because of it, cities, counties and state health departments will receive $24 million to help address this devastating epidemic in new ways.”

Last week, DOJ announced grants it would fund through this program. Last year, DelBene successfully amended CARA to allow state, local and tribal governments to implement community-based substance use diversion programs sponsored by a law enforcement agency, such as LEAD. Since LEAD started in 2011, criminal recidivism rates have been reduced among participants by as much as 60 percent, according to a University of Washington study.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2015 and the rate continues to grow.

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Tags: Health