Alcohol and substance use disorders (SUDs) are correlated with criminal activity (e.g., drug-related theft, drug possession, drinking/driving offenses, domestic violence, and other crimes) and are primary risk factors for criminal recidivism. Persons with criminal justice involvement currently account for 47% of all treatment admissions to OASAS certified programs. Historically, the criminal justice response to alcohol/substance abuse has been incarceration, leading to a revolving door in the justice system. Since the mid 1990’s, new approaches focused on treating substance use disorders have become common in the criminal justice world.
OASAS works closely with the 147 Drug Treatment Courts in New York State. These courts couple intensive treatment for substance use disorder with ongoing judicial monitoring, resulting in reduced recidivism, reduction/elimination of substance use, increased employment, re-unification of families, and lower costs to society.
Access to Treatment
OASAS works closely with Criminal Justice partners to help offenders access treatment. These efforts include:
- OASAS monitors substance use disorder programming in 52 NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision facilities.
- Implementing Medication-Assisted Treatment in jails and prisons. The opioid crisis has spurred communities to provide life-saving medications (methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone) to incarcerated individuals. Many people are at extremely high risk for fatal overdose after being released from incarceration. Most of them have committed minor, non-violent offenses. The medications help reduce craving and the risk of relapse.
- Individuals under the supervision of parole or probation frequently are in need of SUD treatment. OASAS providers work with probation/parole to engage people in treatment.
- Recently, new models designed to provide immediate access to treatment for opioid use disorder have been initiated across the state. Specialized Opioid Courts and police intervention approaches have increased the number of people getting access to treatment for opioid use disorders, including medication-assisted treatment.