Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $550,000)
The Orleans Parish Drug Court (OPDC) is requesting $500,000 in grant funding under Category 3: Adult Drug Court. This in an existing program with Court Intervention Services and is a post-adjudication court. Grant funding will be used to provide clients with access to in-house trauma-informed therapists who are trained to provide mental health care and substance-abuse therapy services. The proposed enhancement to the OPDC will serve will serve 43 clients per year for four years with a total of 172 served over the term of the grant. The enhancement will blend seamlessly with the current OPDC delivery model. The average length of program participation is two years.
Clients who are eligible to benefit from MAT will be referred to a community-based MAT program. In the event that the client will be best suited for methadone treatment, the client will be referred to a partnering state and federally regulated clinic in order to begin treatment services. The treatment plan would be monitored by weekly office visits with the supervising case manager, and weekly medication monitoring sessions, for empty counts. An empty count refers to a client who may have a take home supply of medication that can be tracked by the empty wrapper being saved after ingestion on the medication. If a client would be better suited for MAT using buprenorphine, then the client would be referred to a partnering state and federally regulated OTP, whereby a treatment plan would be developed and ongoing communication would be capable through a confidentiality release of information form. The treatment plan would be monitored by weekly office visits with the supervising case manager, and weekly medication monitoring sessions, for empty counts.
Our target population will include adult males and females arrested in Orleans Parish for a misdemeanor or felony offense, with a history of substance abuse, that are referred to OPDC for treatment. Our program currently enrolls 169 clients. Of these clients: 68.1 % are male, 31.9 % female, 83.9% are Black, 14% White, and 2.1% identified as Other. In total, 97.8 % identified as Non-Hispanic and 2.2 % as Hispanic.
The jurisdiction of Orleans Parish in New Orleans, LA can be described as a poor urban environment where about 28% of the population lives below the poverty level. This is nearly twice the national average. Although African Americans make up about 60% of the population, they make up 84% of those living below the poverty line. The population is 60% black and 52% is female. Almost 42% of New Orleans female-headed families live in poverty and 97% of those are black.
Providing access to trauma-informed therapy for OPDC participants follows the evidence-based program principals outlined in the NADCP Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards. Specifically, the addition of trauma therapists to the drug court team aligns with Key Component #4: Drug courts provide access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services.
The OPDC is not currently leveraging any other federal funding sources to support the proposed project. The OPDC has not received a drug court grant from OJP but successfully managed SAMHSA funding in the past.