Community Services News

Where human needs and government intersect. The Division of Community Services promotes ongoing economic security and independence for the people of Shelby County. We do this by promoting, coordinating and delivering services that address the underlying conditions for well-being and justice. We strive to be a highly organized team and partner, dedicated to promoting a strong community where all people are able to reach their full potential.

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Nov 21

Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Jails

Posted on November 21, 2019 at 4:07 PM by Janet Lo

2019-11 OJI opioid

Office of Justice Initiatives
Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Jails
Shelby County Government is actively fighting the most pressing health crisis through multiple channels. One of the ways is through our Division’s Office of Justice Initiatives (OJI). In 2018, Shelby County had 123 opioid overdose deaths. Among new heroin users, approximately 75% report abusing prescription opioids prior to using heroin. In 2018, Tennessee had over 6 million opioid prescriptions filled for pain. Anyone can become addicted to opioids or experience an overdose.

Last October, the Office of Justice Initiatives was awarded the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-Based Program (COAP) to help on the front lines of the opioid crisis. The core goal of COAP is to reduce opioid overdoses in Shelby County. OJI will do this through many vital partnerships. UT’s Center for Addiction Science (CAS) will advise Addiction Peer Recovery Specialists to help screen and refer individuals at risk of overdose. The University of Memphis will be evaluating this program’s effectiveness and outcomes. The work of the COAP initiative cannot be successful without other key partners like the Sheriff’s Office, Health Department, Memphis Police Department, and the U.S Attorney’s Office.  With these stakeholders, we will:

Increase the number of screenings for risk of overdose.                   

Increase the number of referrals to CAS and other treatment providers.

Increase the number of connections of individuals to CAS and other treatment providers.

Increase the number of enrollments in treatment via CAS and other treatment providers.

Increase the number of diversions from incarceration to CAS and other treatment providers.

The stakeholder team convened in October for their first meeting. The team agreed to recommend a screening tool to help detect individuals at risk of overdose. Ideally, this tool will be used at multiple agencies throughout the county as part of an integrated response plan to refer individuals into treatment.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact the Tennessee REDLINE: 1-800-889-9789.