New Program to Divert Individuals with SUDs from Incarceration into Treatment
Training, education and implementation efforts provided by the Opioid Response Network (ORN) has helped realize a new program in Woonsocket, RI.

This program, which was recently awarded the funding needed to get it off the ground, will divert individuals with an opioid or other substance use disorder who have been arrested away from jail and into treatment and recovery support services. 

70 – 100 People

arrested every year could qualify to participate in this program.

The Collaboration

U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline have announced a three-year $819,109 U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance grant for the Woonsocket Police Department (WPD). Working with the non-profit Community Care Alliance, this will fund the Law Enforcement Assisted Deflection, Engagement, and Retention (LEADER) in Treatment program. ORN, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration funded initiative, will continue providing WPD with education and training support as needed.

LEADER in Treatment was championed by RI Superior Court Judge Kristin Rodgers who was inspired by a similar, successful initiative in Portugal.

ORN began collaborating with Judge Rodgers following an ORN training with 45 judges from across the U.S. on the medical aspects of substance use disorders. This was held at the The National Judicial College and included presentations from addiction psychiatrists from the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and champion judges. Participating judicial officers were charged with returning home to support local initiatives with ongoing, no cost education and training support from ORN. LEADER in Treatment is one example. A free justice system resource guide and online course are also a result of the training.


grant allocated for the Law Enforcement Assisted Deflection, Engagement, and Retention (LEADER) in Treatment program.

45 Judges

from across the U.S. were trained by the ORN on the medical aspects of substance use disorders.

In the press

Tonya Tavares, MS, CCRP, ORN Regional Coordinator, worked with Judge Rodgers and collaboratively with ORN consultants to provide the implementation support. The consultants were Tara Kunkel, MSW, Executive Director, Rulo Strategies and Aimee Campbell, PhD, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatric Social Work, Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Any person, agency, organization or entity can request training and education support from ORN at no cost education to enhance, expand and support their own efforts addressing the opioid crisis, stimulant use disorders and all substance use disorders. Requests can be made easily using the Submit a Request button.

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