Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,200,000)
The Houston Police Department is applying for funding for $1,200,000. This project will serve the nation’s fourth largest city of Houston, with more than 2.2 million residents across 654 square miles, as well as the broader Houston metropolitan area, encompassing 1,777 square miles with more than 4.5 million residents. The purpose of this Houston COSSAP proposal is to fund a collaboration between law enforcement and community service providers with a unified mission of connecting justice-involved individuals with substance dependence to treatment rather than the traditional criminal justice response of arrest and incarceration. This project perspective aligns with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) that is promoting treatment rather than punishment for substance-related incidents, and incorporates evidence-based treatment for substance dependence.
The proposal seeks to outline the importance of eight comprehensive program components, including (1) Information sharing and outreach, (2) Access to naloxone (Narcan), (3) Linkage to evidence-based treatment, (4) Transitional housing, (5) Medication Assisted Treatment (when appropriate), (6) Transportation assistance, (7) Navigation to other services, and (8) Outcome evaluation. The partnership allows law enforcement to be able to offer immediate access to services when interacting with individuals who demonstrate substance misuse, substance dependence, or substance overdose. The objective is to reduce the impact of opioids, stimulants, and other substances on individuals and communities, including a reduction in the number of overdose fatalities, as well as mitigate the impacts on overdose victims by supporting comprehensive, collaborative initiatives. Performance measures will analyze trends and changes in community data on overdose and deaths, patient-level data on engagement and retention in substance use treatment, and data on broader efforts on reducing harm and educating the community.
Houston COSSAP includes partnerships between the Houston Police Department (HPD) and the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth), with the help of the Houston Recovery Center (HRC), to create interventions for police interactions to serve as an opportunity for persons displaying substance misuse to be referred and connected to services. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has also assigned additional agents to the Houston area as an indication of the local need. Priority considerations in this proposal address the high demand for primary treatment admissions for illicit substances in Texas, high rates of overdose deaths that continue to increase in Houston, and a lack of accessibility to treatment providers. Dr. James Langabeer from the UTHealth serves as the evaluator for the proposed project.