This report describes the steps taken by New York State opioid intervention courts (OICs), a relatively new form of treatment and recovery court, to improve their impact on participants by incorporating peer recovery support (PRSS) services in case management.
OICs differ from drug courts in several ways. They are accessed pre-plea and are voluntary, short-term, and focused on stabilization and crisis intervention. Drug courts, on the other hand, provide extended support for court-involved individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs). Whereas drug courts are analogous to a long-term care hospital in providing long-term care for court-involved individuals with SUDs, OICs are analogous to emergency rooms, offering short-term drug-use prevention services to individuals at high risk of a drug overdose. OIC’s in New York introduced PRSS as a component of OIC services. This involves the provision of non-clinical, social supports provided by persons with lived experience of addiction, recovery, and criminal justice involvement. PRSS are critical to the operation of OICs due to the voluntary nature of the court model and the need for immediate engagement in services and supports that address the high risk of overdose. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, peer support services are an evidence-based model of care in which a qualified peer recovery professional assists an individual with recovery from substance use and mental health disorder. In this report, a table is provided to indicate examples of “peer recovery specialist” roles. For each of various peer counselor titles/roles, the table describes key tasks and the locations/facilities where the peer counselor services are provided. The various types of peer recovery support services offered are also reported. 3 tables, 3 figures, and extensive references