Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $900,000)
Project Title: Charleston County Addiction Crisis Task Force:
Police Assisted Peer Recovery Program
Applicant Name: City of Charleston
Opportunity Number: O-BJA-2021-94008; Category 1
Congressional Districts: Charleston (SC-01) and Berkeley (SC-06)
Charleston County continues to be disproportionately impacted by substance use disorder and overdoses. In 2019, Charleston had the second highest number of residents diagnosed with Opioid Use Disorder by state-funded treatment services among South Carolina counties. This is particularly alarming given that South Carolina ranked No.1 in increases of overdose deaths in 2020, with a 64.7% increase in the first eight months compared to the prior year. The City of Charleston has taken great lengths to address the opioid crisis, namely in their partnership with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI), and their participation in the Charleston County Addiction Crisis Task Force. In 2018, the CPD, along with other jurisdictional stakeholders, engaged in data reporting to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program. Despite this success in information sharing, the region still struggles to synchronize overdose data collection and analysis. Further, county-wide efforts at overdose follow-up are fragmented and inconsistent with regards to each Police Department’s access to a peer support specialist. As the City continues to experience unprecedented increases in drug overdose that often involve multi-jurisdictional victims, it is critical that the region engage in a county-wide outreach and data tracking effort to combat this crisis.
Utilization of Award
To maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of police-based post-overdose outreach teams, the City of Charleston seeks to fund three positions: (1) Project Coordinator to provide data collection and analysis services to all law enforcement agencies in Charleston County; and (2) Peer Support Specialists to support law enforcement officers while conducting this outreach. Additionally, the City seeks to enhance and expand their existing partnership with PAARI to include officer training, oversight of Peer Support Specialists, and the design of multimedia products to be used to inform the officers and the community of this outreach initiative. Finally, if awarded this project will fund a Critical Incident Management Software to facilitate communication between police-based outreach programs and treatment facilities to track follow-up success.
The primary project outcome is to establish a consistent, evidence-based law enforcement diversion program. The ultimate goal of this project is to achieve a 15% reduction in the number of days from overdose to outreach. The project will also improve the ability to track follow-up success that previously was unattainable.