The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office proudly welcomed prosecutors and members of law enforcement on November 5, 2018 for the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) and Addiction Policy Leadership Action Network (APLAN) regional opioid training held in downtown Portland, Oregon.
This was one of eight training events organized between July and December 2018 to highlight successful programs in the areas of diversion, treatment, recovery and prevention.
“Like so many other jurisdictions throughout the country, our community struggles with the consequences associated with the opioid crisis,” Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill said. “Too often we see the devastating impacts this crisis is having on our loved ones. Addiction can tear down a person. To those who are experiencing addiction, we tell them there is hope. Through our collaborative efforts, we strive to stop addiction from stripping a person’s dignity. I am proud of the work we are doing in Multnomah County in this area to better understand and treat addiction. We are diverting more people from local jails to ensure they receive treatment. We recognize that addiction is an illness that cannot exclusively be solved inside a courtroom. This approach requires systematic changes and we are doing that here in Multnomah County. These trainings are critically important as they allow us to learn from each other as we work to address the opioid crisis.”
The NDAA-APLAN regional trainings have specific goals of (A) identifying and developing best practices for setting up diversion programs and assisting prosecutors with replicating programs within their jurisdictions, understanding that each jurisdiction has its own characteristics; (B) connecting prosecutors and law enforcement with community treatment providers and other substance use and mental health professionals available to ensure a continuum of care and assessment in the criminal justice system and (C) identifying and assessing impact points related to the opioid crisis within the criminal justice system, including child welfare, traffic safety issues and initial interactions with law enforcement.
LEAD®, which was developed in Seattle, Washington, allows law enforcement to redirect low-level offenders involved in drug activity to intensive case management tailored to fit their needs instead of jail and prosecution. Participation is voluntary but requires completion of an in-depth assessment within 30-days of arrest for the case not to be issued. The District Attorney’s Office highlighted the story of a recent LEAD® participant.
The Treatment First Program is a partnership of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, the Multnomah County Circuit Court, defense services, the Department of Community Justice (DCJ), local law enforcement and community treatment providers. The program is dedicated to helping individuals break their drug dependent lifestyle, reuniting families, reducing recidivism and improving public safety in Multnomah County.
The Addiction Policy Forum is a diverse partnership of organizations, policymakers and stakeholders committed to working together to elevate awareness around addiction and to improve national policy through a comprehensive response that includes prevention, treatment, recovery and criminal justice reform. The treatment component is facilitated by a contracted agency that works closely with the court to provide mental health and drug treatment, employment resources, housing referrals, mentoring, residential treatment referrals and long-term follow-up services.
The NDAA remains on the front lines of training, research, and policy making as the country grapples with the growing drug abuse crisis. Combatting the opioid epidemic is a priority for NDAA and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.
Multnomah County Health Department
Mental Health & Addiction Services Division
Contact: Brent Weisberg, Communications Director