The Justice and Community Services section of the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security recently awarded the state a $6 million grant through the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-based Program.
Funding will be used for two strategies that provide addiction prevention, intervention, and diversion service.
The first strategy is school-based prevention. Funding will expand the Prevention Resource Officer program to cover nearly the entire state. The law enforcement officers focus on substance abuse education and prevention with students.
The Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources implemented initiatives for pre-arrest diversion, the second strategy. The three initiatives comprise the West Virginia QLA Early Intervention Program.
Quick Response Teams work with people who have experienced an overdose. The teams are available in 22 counties.
Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion pursues community-based supportive services for low-level offenses, including drug possession, as an alternative to the criminal justice system.
The West Virginia Angel Initiative allows the West Virginia State Police to refer people with substance use disorder (SUD) who ask for assistance.
“West Virginia has implemented a variety of initiatives to address the SUD epidemic and the fear associated with asking for help, including adopting and promoting several programs of Pre-Arrest Diversion,” Rachel Thaxton, ODCP assistant director, said.