Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $113,000)
The Taos LEAD program (Let Everyone Advance with Dignity/ Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program) was launched in 2020 in Taos, NM utilizing funding from the NM Behavioral Health Services Division. This program follows the LEAD/ harm reduction model developed initially in Seattle to utilize law enforcement officers to divert clientele with substance abuse disorder to programs geared to assist with substance abuse disorder. The Taos LEAD program is tasked with reducing criminal incidences amongst people suffering from substance abuse disorder, decrease the usage of criminal justice and emergency public health services, and improve public safety in Taos, NM. We are also attempting to reduce the incidences of drug overdose, substance abuse disorder, and improve the quality of lives of people with substance abuse disorders referred to the Taos LEAD program. Taos LEAD is also trying to improve the response to substance abuse by increasing the coordination and collaboration between the criminal justice system, social service system and public health systems.
The Taos LEAD program utilizes evaluators to perform timely analysis of data obtained from servicing people with substance abuse disorder to identify what substances are being used in Taos, NM, identify and monitor the effectiveness of services being provided to LEAD clients, identify the types of services most useful to LEAD clients, monitor what impact the implementation of services to LEAD clients is having on substance abuse usage, and monitor the crime related reoffend rates of LEAD clients once services have been implemented.
The Taos LEAD program provides social services to enrolled LEAD clientele that include food vouchers, toiletries, referral and support in obtaining substance abuse treatment, housing, medication assisted treatment, harm reduction training to reduce incidences of overdoses, and regular support from case managers to help LEAD clientele achieve and maintain sobriety and become productive members of society.
The Taos LEAD program works with our law enforcement partners and have them identify people with substance abuse disorder who are committing low level misdemeanor crimes. Law enforcement will then refer them to the Taos LEAD program for services or divert them to the Taos LEAD program in lieu of filing criminal charges on them provided they engage in services through the LEAD program.