Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,599,528)
The proposed project will support three inter-related programmatic enhancements at the Ventura County Jail (CA), to achieve the overarching goal of expanding substance use disorder (SUD) care and retention for this high-risk population. Ventura County has seen a sharp rise in opioid and methamphetamine related overdose deaths, with a 33% increase in deaths from 2021 to 2022. The jail population mirrors the SUD problems seen in the general population, however there are limited treatment and support services currently available as a means of reducing problems related to SUD among persons involved with county corrections. This project aims to address the challenges being faced related to the rising prevalence of SUD in the county, with a particular emphasis on people with histories of opioid use disorder and stimulant use, through early SUD identification of persons in the county jail system and improved delivery of treatment and supportive services. The specific services that will be implemented/expanded include: (1) conducting uniform SUD screening at intake (including comparison testing of 2 screening tools); (2) expanding access to in-custody medication for opioid use disorder; and (3) improving community SUD aftercare attendance and housing stability for those referred for ongoing SUD treatment, including use of a newly established Patient Navigator to provide more efficient responses to client needs during the high-risk period when returning to the community. In addressing these goals, this project responds to several of the allowable uses/practices specified in the solicitation including: Evidence-based substance use disorder treatment related to opioids, stimulants, and other illicit drugs, such as MAT, as well as harm reduction activities and recovery support services (25%); Transitional or recovery housing and peer recovery support services (35%); Embedding social workers, peers, and/or persons with lived experience at any intercept of the Sequential Intercept Model (25%); and Field-initiated projects that bring together justice, behavioral health, and public health practitioners (15%). The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) is submitting this Category 1a proposal in response to BJA Grant Opportunity Number O-BJA-2022-171280 (C-BJA-2022-00093-PROD). The project will include partnerships with county health care providers with expertise in addiction treatment. The inclusion of a research partner (NYU) will ensure that the project process and outcomes are appropriately documented and reported.