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Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program: Law Enforcement/First Responder Diversion

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2019
4 pages
Publication Series

After defining law enforcement/first responder diversion programs under the Bureau of Justice Assistance's (BJA's) Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program (COAP), this report reviews the COAP funding for such programs, describes five pathways for prevention of opioid overdose and diversion to treatment, profiles two first responder opioid diversion programs by COAP grantees, and lists the names of first responder opioid diversion programs in all states with COAP grants.


BJA's COAP program was developed as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 to provide financial and technical assistance to states, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to plan, develop, and implement comprehensive efforts in identifying, responding to, treating, and supporting those impacted by the opioid epidemic. The COAP currently provides financial support to just over 40 law enforcement/first responder programs. Law enforcement/first responder diversion programs often include first responders (police, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and firefighters) working in partnership with substance abuse treatment providers and peer recovery coaches to assist overdose victims in accessing treatment and recovery support services. COAP funding is available for communities to establish pre-arrest or post-arrest law enforcement/first responder diversion programs for individuals who commit low-level, non-violent drug offenses. COAP supports activities related to diversion programs that do one or more of the following activities: 1) connecting individuals at risk for overdose and/or survivors of a non-fatal overdose to appropriate treatment; 2) providing such survivors access to treatment services and medication; 3) prioritizing access to treatment services; 4) providing overdose prevention education and outreach; 5) deploying a rapid response intervention program; and 6) providing specialized training to first responders.

Date Published: March 1, 2019