David Lawrence Center and Collier County Sheriff’s Office Partner in Innovative, New Diversion Program to Help Battle Addiction

February 28th, 2018

Naples, FL – David Lawrence Center, Collier County’s only comprehensive, not-for-profit mental health and addiction recovery treatment center serving children, adults and families, is pleased to announce the launch of a new collaboration with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. In January, the long-time community partners entered into an agreement to begin Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) throughout Collier County to help individuals battling addiction stay out of jail and get access to life-saving treatment services.

The Collier County LEAD program is an innovative diversion program modeled after an initiative that began in Seattle, Washington in 2011. The program was the result of an unprecedented collaboration between police, prosecutors, civil rights advocates, public defenders, political leaders, human services treatment providers and community leaders. The program sought new ways to solve problems for individuals who frequently cycle in and out of the criminal justice system – a system that relies on the formal arrest, prosecution, and incarceration process.

In the LEAD® program in Seattle, participants were 58% less likely to be arrested after enrollment when compared to those who went through the criminal justice system. As a result, the Collier County LEAD program holds considerable promise as a way for law enforcement to help this community respond to public order issues stemming from unaddressed public health and human services needs such as addiction and untreated mental illness through a public health framework that reduces reliance on the formal criminal justice system.

Collier County Sheriff and David Lawrence Center Board Member Kevin Rambosk said “We are excited about working with David Lawrence Center on this new initiative. Our goal with the LEAD program is to save lives first and foremost. Secondary to that, the program seeks to improve public safety and reduce criminal behavior.”

The Collier County LEAD program is designed to allow law enforcement officers to exercise discretionary authority at the point of contact to redirect certain low-level, drug-related activity to community-based, harm-reduction intervention and treatment services, instead of jail and prosecution.

When law enforcement officers encounter an eligible individual with a suspected substance use disorder, the deputy will assist the individual in participating in a screening with a David Lawrence Center clinician. Screenings are available 24/7 and may be conducted by phone or in person. Some individuals may be eligible for immediate admission into the David Lawrence Center Crossroads inpatient detox program, depending on clinical need and availability.

Individuals not admitted immediately into detox are connected with the Crossroads Outreach Specialist and the Collier County Sheriff’s Mental Health Intervention Team to assist with linking to recommended services. Additional treatment services may include residential rehab, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient services, psychiatric medical services and outpatient therapy. In addition to these eligible treatment services, individuals can receive free Narcan® opioid overdose prevention kits. Narcan® is an FDA-approved nasal form of naloxone for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose which counteracts the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose.

David Lawrence Center CEO Scott Burgess added, “David Lawrence Center has had a long-standing partnership with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office to better serve the mental health and addiction needs of our community for nearly our entire 50-year history. Their progressive and innovative approach to helping our community battle the opioid epidemic and assist individuals in need in accessing treatment is truly life-saving. We are honored to work alongside them with the latest initiative.”

For more information about the Collier County LEAD program, contact the David Lawrence Center Crossroads Addiction Recovery program at 239-354-1428 or the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Mental Health Intervention Team at 239-252-9300.

Southwest Florida nonprofit David Lawrence Center is a national leader in providing world-class mental health and addiction recovery solutions for children, adolescents and adults. The Center’s innovative, integrated treatment includes inpatient, outpatient, residential, and community-based services – a comprehensive system of care funded by community and government support. Each year, David Lawrence Center creates life-changing wellness for more than 9,000 people through over 220,000 treatment sessions. To learn more, please call 239-455-8500 or visit www.DavidLawrenceCenter.org.

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