As a product of the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP), this policy brief reports on a COSSAP-funded roundtable discussion in December 2020 that involved representatives from seven states, who discussed the common challenges and opportunities for governors and state officials in informing state and local policy development and improving outcomes for individuals with substance-use disorder (SUD).
The purpose of COSSAP is to provide financial and technical assistance to state and local governments in developing, implementing, or expanding comprehensive efforts to identify, respond to, treat, and support individuals impacted by illicit opioids, stimulants, and other drugs of abuse. A key priority of COSSAP is to promote public safety and support access to recovery services for SUD in the criminal justice system. The states that participated in the roundtable featured in this policy brief were Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Three main themes emerged from the roundtable. One theme was the need to address divergent views on the risks to public safety of drug abuse and individuals with SUD. This overarching challenge in improving outcomes for individuals with SUD on community supervision is the barrier that stems from corrections and behavioral health stakeholders defining public safety differently. A second challenge identified by the roundtable was ensuring access to community-based SUD treatment through the planning and use of innovative strategies. The third major theme of the roundtable was the implementation of evidence-based practices for community supervision that align with SUD treatment goals. Online access is provided for resources on these topics and opportunities for technical assistance and support.