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IACP, TASC create initiative to combat opioid epidemic

The initiative aims to create robust alternative-to-arrest diversion programs

By Police1 Staff

The International Association of Chiefs of Police and Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) announced the launch of a national initiative to combat the opioid epidemic Monday.

According to a press release, the initiative aims to create robust alternative-to-arrest diversion programs for law enforcement, allowing addicts to receive the help they need. The announcement comes days after the Trump administration declared the opioid crisis a “national emergency.”

“At this critical time for our communities, law enforcement efforts to connect people with drug treatment could not have greater urgency,” IACP President Donald De Lucca said. “Law enforcement officers, working side-by-side with treatment providers and community, will together help form the solution.”

The collaboration aims to streamline law enforcement’s ability to partner with substance use and mental health providers to provide treatment for addicts as quickly as possible. IACP and TASC will partner with the Police, Treatment and Community Collaborative (PTAC) to build a multi-disciplinary approach to help reduce crime.

The initiative has four main goals:

  1. To identify the many variations on the concept of diversion across the United States, pinpointing programs with the most promising and measurable outcomes
  2. Launch a significant nationwide pilot implementation approach using the identified promising models
  3. Leverage the resources of the IACP Center for Police Research and Policy at the University of Cincinnati to measure and evaluate the results of the pilot implementation to ensure an evidenced-based approach
  4. Launch one of the largest pre-arrest diversion initiatives in the United States, seeking a sea change in policing (and justice) practices

The partnership acknowledges that diversion programs are not a new practice, but the initiative brings together TASC’s expertise in evidence-based responses to substance use and mental health disorders and IACP’s law enforcement network.

“This initiative can yield value across the U.S., including safer communities, healthier families, and officers returning home safely from duty,” De Lucca said.