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BREAKING NEWS!

White House, ONDCP Announce Model Law to Expand First Responder Deflection
March 3, 2022


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“This Model Law Enforcement and other First Responder Deflection Act will have a significant and lasting impact on the lives of individuals who are living with mental health and substance use challenges.” -- Dr. Rashad Saafir, President and CEO of Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavior Health Services and Co-founder and Director of the Westside Community Triage and Wellness Center in Chicago.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced the release of the Model Law Enforcement and Other First Responders Deflection Act, a resource for states that encourages the development and use of deflection programs across the country. These programs are needed because first responders, including law enforcement, often do not have good options when encountering people with substance use and/or mental health disorders. In a growing number of states, public safety and public health partnerships “deflect” people with these disorders away from traditional criminal justice programs and connect them to evidence-based treatment, harm reduction, recovery and prevention services. These approaches save lives and reduce the burden on first responders. This state model law would expand access to these programs across the country.
 
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“This week, President Biden made clear that it is a top priority of this Administration to remove barriers to treatment and get more people the help they need. Deflection programs are supported by law enforcement and health care providers because they are cost-effective and save lives.” Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
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“This week, President Biden made clear that it is a top priority of this Administration to remove barriers to treatment and get more people the help they need. Deflection programs are supported by law enforcement and health care providers because they are cost-effective and save lives,” said Dr. Gupta. “In 2018, there were over 60 million encounters between law enforcement and the public, the majority of which did not end in arrest. Ensuring police have the skills they need to identify early signs of substance use disorder so they can connect more people to care is an important tool in our efforts to address the overdose epidemic. This model law provides states with a framework to expand access to these programs, support data collection to track performance, and better address the needs of communities.”
 
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“As a person with professional and lived experience in substance use, mental health, and criminal justice, the Model Law Enforcement and Other First Responder Deflection Act is a monumental step in the right direction,” said Dr. Brandee Izquierdo, Executive Director, Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic (SAFE) Project.
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As detailed in a new report also released today, deflection programs are shown to reduce stigma, provide better services for people with substance use disorder, mental health disorder, or co-occurring disorders, and save lives. They are also widely supported by justice and safety officials. The report entitled, The Stigmatization of Justice-involved Individuals with Substance Use Disorder, from the Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association in partnership with Rulo Strategies, cites a study conducted by NORC and TASC that highlights how 411 diversion and deflection programs “strengthened relationships among community partners, including first responders, behavioral health providers, and recovery professionals.”

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“With over 1,000 communities now doing deflection and with the continued rapid growth of the field across our country, the release of the Model Law Enforcement and Other First Responder Deflection Act could not have come at a better time for State deflection leaders.” --Jac Charlier, Executive Director of the Police, Treatment, and Community Collaborative (PTACC) and Executive Director of TASC's Center for Health and Justice. 
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Read the full press release here
 
PTACC, the definitive voice of the field of deflection, would like to recognize the Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association (LAPPA), a PTACC National Partner, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) who worked diligently to write and distribute The Model Law Enforcement and Other First Responder Deflection Act. The model act was also made possible through the work of PTACC’s Policy and Legislation Strategy Area, spearheaded by Ric Ohrstrom of C4, Bob Trojan, and Robert Childs. Finally, we would like to recognize our colleagues whose names appear in the acknowledgments sections of both the Model Deflection Act and the report on The Stigmatization of Justice-involved Individuals with Substance Use Disorders.
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ONDCP recently announced the release of the Model Syringe Services Program Act, a model law for states to help expand access to syringe services programs (SSPs). In November, ONDCP announced the release of the Model Expanded Access to Emergency Opioid Antagonists Act, a state model law that would help make access to naloxone consistent across the country. Previously through this initiative, states have introduced the Model Overdose Fatality Reviews Teams Act, a LAPPA model law that would establish county-level multidisciplinary overdose fatality review that can be used to identify and respond to overdose deaths; and the Model Overdose Mapping (ODMAP) and Response Act, a LAPPA model law that would establish a system to track overdose incident reporting and improve public health and public safety responses.
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Read about additional actions taken by the Biden-Harris Administration to address addiction and the overdose epidemic HERE.
 
PTACC is the definitive voice of the field of deflection and pre-arrest diversion. We provide vision, leadership, advocacy, and education to facilitate the growth and practice of deflection and pre-arrest diversion in all its forms—including programs that incorporate co-responder and community responder models—nationally and internationally.
 
Questions? Email PTACC: info@ptaccollaborative.org 
© 2021 Police, Treatment and Community Collaborative (PTACC)

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The PTACC Ticker is a summary of resources, news stories, opportunities, and updates for deflection related issues, including the topics of police and other first responders, treatment, and community. It is compiled and published by PTACC each Wednesday.

Some headlines and text have been altered by PTACC for clarity or emphasis, or to minimize discriminatory or stigmatizing language. Opinions in the articles and op-eds do not necessarily express the views of PTACC and our partners.