Addressing opioid misuse: Hero Help as a recovery and behavioural health response
This article is related directly to the 6th International Law Enforcement & Public Health (LEPH) Virtual Conference in March 2021.
Increases in opioid-related overdoses have required law enforcement and public health officials to collectively develop new approaches that treat substance use disorders and save lives. This essay describes the Hero Help recovery and behavioural health assistance program, a Delaware-based initiative providing drug treatment to qualifying adults who contact the police and ask for treatment, or to individuals in lieu of an arrest or upon recommendation by a police officer. Led by the New Castle County Division of Police, this collaborative project has brought together stakeholders from public health and criminal justice to coordinate treatment for people suffering from a substance use disorder and/or mental health problems. This essay describes the goals, evolution, and key activities of the program. It further highlights lessons learned, including improving credibility through concerted community outreach, finding ways to overcome the stigma associated with participating in a law enforcement–based program, gaining officer buy-in, and using data to inform treatment responses. Effectively, this essay seeks to disseminate emerging lessons in creating programming responsive to substance use disorder and mental illness among police departments and their community partners.
Copyright (c) 2021 Ellen Donnelly, Madeline Stenger, Shannon Streisel, Daniel O'Connell, and Jessica Arnold
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.