As part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), the first major piece of federal substance use disorder treatment and recovery legislation in over 40 years, the Department of Justice is awarding a total of $58.9 million nationwide to address the epidemic, of which $1.1 million will fund three New Jersey-based opioid abuse programs, including Camden County.

The Camden County Opioid Abuse Diversion Program (CCOAD) aims to reduce opioid misuse and overdose fatalities for those involved in the justice system in Camden County. Initially, the County will conduct a comprehensive system assessment to understand this population, and using this information, provide case management and wrap-around services for those with an opioid addiction involved in the justice system. A $400,000 grant will be used to implement the program and WRI will serve as the project’s evaluator.

The Camden County Correctional Facility will implement a system-level diversion and alternatives to incarceration project with its pre-trial intervention population. In this program, WRI will: 1) conduct a comprehensive system assessment to understand the target population, 2) assess issues and underlying causes to develop theory of change models and strategies to address them, and 3) facilitate program process and outcome assessment and evaluation.

In New Jersey, the recidivism rate is nearly 30 percent in the first three years, according to a study completed in 2018, and substance abuse is among the top reasons offenders return. It costs Camden County more than $50,000 to incarcerate one individual per year.

According to Freeholder Jonathan Young, liaison to the Department of Public Safety, “the opioid epidemic is a public health crisis in our community and across the country. This funding allows us to explore new ways to help those who are already struggling by providing services that will cut down on recidivism and save taxpayers money. We know many inmates come into our facility fighting against a dependency to opioids and now we can start taking a closer look on reentry and getting them the tools they need to be successful upon release.”

Learn more here.