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Navajo County Rapid Response Program for Overdose Prevention

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,300,000)

Navajo County, Arizona, in partnership with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), requests $1.3 million under Category 1B to implement the County Overdose Prevention and Engagement (COPE) Program. The program, based on the Ten Essential Elements of Opioid Intervention Courts, will utilize a rapid response team of justice system and  behavioral health practitioners to identify individuals at risk of drug overdose immediately after arrest and link them with evidence-based treatment, recovery support services, and ongoing monitoring. The goal of the program is to prevent overdose deaths and increase long-term treatment engagement among at-risk individuals.

The first year of the grant will focus on project design and implementation. Navajo County will assemble a steering committee of key justice system, behavioral health, and public health partners to oversee the project’s development. With NADCP’s technical support, Navajo County will conduct a comprehensive needs assessment to ensure the program is designed to meet the needs of at-risk individuals and maximize the use of local resources. Navajo County and NADCP will then finalize the program design, provide role-based training to staff, and implement a data collection protocol for measuring project outcomes.

In year two, Navajo County will launch the program in its two largest courts. Each arrestee will be screened for risk of overdose before their first court appearance. High-risk individuals who opt into the program will receive a same-day warm handoff to Community Bridges, a leading treatment provider. Participants will also receive recovery support services and ongoing supervision by pre-trial services officers. Supervision, including random drug testing and regular check-in meetings, will inform any needed adjustments to the participant’s treatment plan. Participants’ legal cases will be stayed for 90 days so they can focus on treatment, after which their cases will resume. Many participants will ultimately be referred to a drug court, mental health court, or other program for longer-term treatment, while others may go through regular case processing.  

In the final year, Navajo County and NADCP will use program data for continuous quality improvement, making real-time adjustments to the program model to achieve the greatest possible impact. NADCP will assist Navajo County in producing a final report documenting program implementation and results. The Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts supports this program and may look to replicate the program in other counties if successful.

Date Created: September 28, 2022