Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $900,000)
DeKalb County, Illinois is a “collar county” sixty miles west of Chicago with a population of 105,000. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 41.7% of county residents live in rural areas that lack access to public transportation and services for treatment of substance use disorders (SUDs). Outpatient services are only available in the two largest communities, DeKalb and Sycamore, and there are no inpatient facilities located in the county. Statistics from the DeKalb County Coroner’s Office show that the number of deaths from overdoses rose 160% in the first five months of 2021 as compared with the first five months of 2018. Of 14 accidental deaths in the first five months of 2021, 12, (86%) were from overdoses.
The DeKalb County Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Other Substance Use Disorder Project (COSSAP) will serve clients involved with the DeKalb County Court system. The goal of the project is to provide immediate access to treatment services for persons with SUDs who come into the criminal justice system and recovery services after treatment. DeKalb County Court Services will partner with, the DeKalb County Drug Overdose Prevention Program, local city and county government officials, the Judiciary, the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, local law enforcement agencies, and local/regional service providers to 1) identify persons with SUDs who enter the criminal justice system, 2) assist these people with gaining rapid access to treatment services, and 3) sustain recovery progress by linking them with support services upon release from treatment.
COSSAP in DeKalb County will cover treatment costs for eligible clients in need of immediate help for SUDs, assist with transportation getting to and from treatment, and help fund medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The project funds will also be used to create new opportunities to enhance post-treatment success by providing additional recovery support services, to include hiring and training a dedicated Peer Recovery Support Specialist, who will provide experience-based guidance and understanding during recovery, and providing wrap-around services to each client.
Policies and procedures will be developed with input from all partners in the criminal justice system, including a diversion plan that can be used to keep some clients from obtaining a conviction if they successfully complete COSSAP. An action research component will be conducted by New York University’s Marron Institute. All materials that are developed from this project will be available for use by other programs.