Drug Arrest Diversion Program to Expand City-Wide Soon | Chicago News


The city is expanding a program that aims to stop people from committing a drug offense and, instead, puts them in treatment.

The Narcotics Diversion Program, launched in 2018 on the West Side, referred more than 700 people in 11 eligible police districts to drug treatment programs.

Officials say the program will expand to all districts by the end of the year.

There are two ways a person can access NADP, Chicago Deputy Police Chief Antoinette Ursitti said. If an officer detains a person in possession of one gram or less of cocaine, heroin or drug-related paraphernalia and is open for treatment, a counselor at the post will put them in touch with a program. treatment. Otherwise, people can come to the station to request access to the program.

Thresholds is an organization that provides services and resources to people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders in Illinois.

When someone meets with a Thresholds advisor, they talk about different treatment options, said Tim Devitt, associate vice president of clinical operations at Thresholds. Counselors also go beyond treatment options, such as offering housing assistance or education about naloxone, an opioid overdose reverser.

“We’re really based on what the person needs and what is best for where they are, addiction issues and whatever is going on as well,” said Devitt.

However, there are “disqualifiers” for access. For example, the person cannot have been convicted of a violent crime or have been convicted of illegal possession of a firearm.

Ursitti, who works with the department’s crisis intervention unit, said these eligibility restrictions could create a loophole in backdoor arrests. She explained that the program has changed the eligibility criteria in the past and that they have also worked with partners to find ways to expand eligibility.

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