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Cuyahoga County Specialty Court: Peer Specialist Pilot Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $568,750)

Cuyahoga County Specialized Docket: Peer Support Pilot Program




The Cuyahoga County Specialized Docket: Peer Support Pilot Program is a Category 3 Adult Drug Court (ADC) funding request that will serve the urban and suburban areas of Cuyahoga County, Ohio (which includes the City of Cleveland at its county seat). Cuyahoga County, which is located centrally within a 2.7-million-person Major Metropolitan Service Area known as Greater Cleveland/Akron, leads with the highest number of drug overdose deaths in Ohio.* Home to over 1.2 million people, Cuyahoga County is comprised of 59 distinct municipalities with the City of Cleveland as its largest municipality and County Seat. The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas (Court) serves this geographic catchment area.

The Program supports the Court’s ADC Program which includes four ADC Court docket (traditional and MAT drug courts), a Recovery Court (focused on alcohol and/or drug addiction and trauma-related mental health issues), and a Veterans Treatment Court (Type B court that serves military veterans and active duty personnel). The Court requests $500,000 in funding over a four-year period to support the expansion of its services through a Peer Support Pilot Program that includes a local match of $166,668.

For the first time in its history, the Court will pilot a Peer Support Program that serves about 42% male and 58% female adults with Opioid, Stimulant and other Substance Use Disorders. The average client age is 38 years and the racial breakdown is white (71%) and black (29%). Although clients have access to enhanced existing treatment protocols utilizing evidence-based programs such as MAT, they do not fully utilize certified peer supporters who encourage clients to remain on the road to recovery.

The Court’s ADC dockets all have specialized certification from the Ohio Supreme Court and adhere to all NADCP Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards. The Peer Support Pilot Program will serve clients by collaborating with the Thrive Behavioral Health Center, Inc., known for providing high quality certified peer support services throughout Ohio. Its service model offers continuing care through shared lived experience to individuals early in their recovery who need a trusting relationship, hope for recovery, and assistance navigating the oftentimes-confusing recovery landscape. The program will serve 210 clients/year or 840 unduplicated individuals over the four-year grant period.

The Peer Support Pilot Program will uniquely promote the process of recovery services while clients are incarcerated and awaiting treatment—since intervention at this early stage will more effectively promote interdisciplinary care and recovery long-term. Peer Supporters will attend court staff meetings, form relationships with team partners, support to offenders as they navigate the legal system, advocate for recovery needs and discharge planning, and link clients to ongoing recovery support services utilizing Medicaid benefits at the time of release.

The Court is leveraging other federal funding sources to support its ADC Program from SAMHSA (Awards TI-081022 and H79TI081965) and the BJA Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program (Award 2019-Mu-BX-0003).


*University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (2020). County Health Rankings. See: https://www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/ohio/2019/measure/factors/138/…

Date Created: December 22, 2021