This guide from the Vera Institute of Justice details harm reduction strategies to address problematic drug use for the criminal justice system. The report includes a brief history of how the current drug overdose crisis developed and an overview of the development and consequences of the “war on drugs.” The report offers an alternative framing of drug use as a public health problem rather than a justice problem, and describes community based interventions that can be adopted including strategies for police, court systems, prosecutors, correctional facilities, and re-entry programs. The report features two case studies of initiatives in Ross County, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia where key stakeholders developed innovative programs to address the addiction and overdose crises in their communities. The report concludes with 5 strategies communities can adopt to minimize the harms of punitive responses to drug use while improving outcomes through health-centered and community-based approaches.
Funding Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Changing Course in the Overdose Crisis: Moving from Punishment to Harm Reduction and Health
A guide to adopting a public health/harm reduction approach to drug use for the criminal justice system from the Vera Institute of Justice