Project Description

About Project Opioid Court REACH Project Opioid Court REACH stands for Rigorous and Evidence-based Approaches for Court-based Health Promotion. This project seeks to create a framework for implementing opioid courts within New York State and elsewhere in order to ultimately link court participants who use opioids and/or are at risk for overdose with treatment.

The project team will work with members of each county's opioid court stakeholder group to develop, deliver and test technical assistance strategies to support the roll-out of opioid courts. These strategies will adhere to the Ten Essential Elements of Opioid Intervention Courts while taking into consideration the specific needs and resources of each community.

Project Opioid Court REACH Goals Opioid Court REACH's goal is to optimize the ability of the opioid court to identify court-involved individuals at risk of overdose, assess their needs, and facilitate enrollment into treatment/medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and recovery. Throughout this project, we will examine how the court and treatment systems, and other related agencies such as law enforcement, operate to deliver the opioid court; and then deliver and evaluate technical assistance strategies that will improve court operation and program performance as well as treatment outcomes of court participants.

The project's three main goals are to:

  1. Develop and refine the Opioid Court REACH implementation intervention.
  2. Test the ability of Opioid Court REACH to improve outcomes along the opioid cascade of care: screening/identification, referral, treatment enrollment, and initiation of MOUD.
  3. Examine the clinical and cost effectiveness of Opioid Court REACH in improving court participant program completion/treatment retention and reducing recidivism.

Opioid Court REACH will utilize two primary strategies to achieve these goals: technical assistance (TA)/external facilitation and local change teams (referred to as the opioid court stakeholder group which may include court staff [e.g. judges, court coordinators, lawyers] as well as case managers, community treatment providers, peer navigators, and law enforcement.)

About the Project Team Researchers at New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI)/ Columbia University (Columbia), are partnering with the Center for Court Innovation, the New York State Unified Court System (NYS UCS), and the New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (OASAS) to carry out Project Opioid Court REACH. We will be working with local change teams made up of stakeholders from each county's opioid court, including court staff and treatment staff in the county.

The Center for Court Innovation is a nonprofit organization that conducts research in the field of criminal justice, operates court-and community-based programming, and provides national technical assistance. The technical assistance providers at the Center for Court Innovation bring decades of experience in treatment courts, and a portfolio of work including statewide strategic plans, trainings in evidence-based practices, court evaluations, national publications, and more. Small teams of technical assistance providers will work with each Opioid Court REACH site to provide needs assessments, and action planning workshops, among other activities.

Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute have conducted cutting-edge research into clinical practice for over 50 years, with an eye toward improving access to mental health and substance abuse services for vulnerable population. A multidisciplinary team of researchers lending their expertise to Project Opioid Court REACH includes staff from the Division of Substance Use Disorders, Division of Translational Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, the Center for the Promotion of Mental Health in Juvenile Justice, and the Implementation Science and Outcomes Core, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies.

The New York Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) oversees New York State's preventative care and treatment and recovery programs with a mission to improve the lives of New Yorkers by leading a comprehensive system of addiction services for prevention, treatment, and recovery. OASAS is the single designated state agency responsible for the coordination of state-federal relations in the area of addiction services.

The Office of Court Administration (OCA) of the New York State Unified Court System is the administrative arm of the court system in New York State, under the administration of the Chief Administrative Judge. The Division of Policy and Planning (DPP) within the Office for Justice Initiatives provides support and training to all problem-solving courts statewide. DPP assists in the development of all problem-solving courts throughout the state and works to create and implement strategies to improve access to justice. 

Project Opioid Court REACH Funding Project Opioid Court REACH is funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA; U01 DA050071) and is part of the HEAL national initiative. HEAL stands for Helping to End Addiction Long-term and is led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that aims to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis.

JCOIN, which stands for the Justice Community Innovation Network is part of the HEAL initiative that focuses on all aspects of the system-- community supervision, jail, prison, and the courts. The overall goal of JCOIN is to improve access to high-quality care for people with opioid misuse and opioid use disorder in justice settings, whether detained or residing in the community. The centerpiece of the JCOIN approach is establishing partnerships with local and state justice systems and community-based treatment providers to achieve this aim. Project Opioid Court REACH is one of 12 projects (and growing) across 16 states/territories in the JCOIN network.