3 Things Cities Should Know About CARA Opioid Abuse Program Grants

There are opportunities exclusive to local governments, as well as limitations, in site-based opioid abuse program grants under CARA.

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) are accepting applications through April 25th for the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016.

Here are three things cities should know about this piece of funding under CARA.

#1 CARA funding for both overdose outreach and incarceration alternatives programs -- two of the six grant categories -- are limited to units of local government. 

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This means that municipalities with a high number of people dealing with opioid abuse and crime that are encountering the justice system have an opportunity to create effective strategies and interventions by leveraging BJA's Smart Suite. BJA's data-driven programs are designed to help a municipality better understand the nature and extent of the challenges it is facing in order to apply resources to the highest priorities.

One Smart Suite program is the Second Chance Act Demonstration Program, an effort enacted by legislation aiming to break the cycle of criminal recidivism and improve public safety with rising populations of formerly incarcerated people returning to their communities.

With CARA funding through the site-based program grants, a municipality can partner with a research institution that can reveal that data and evidence it needs to develop specific solutions that target the unique needs of its communities.

#2 CARA funding through this round is not available to local governments seeking to use technology to increase treatment and recovery efficacy.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Web-based Therapeutic Education Systems (TES) not only help people stop using drugs, but can keep them in treatment longer. The use of technology to deliver cognitive behavioral treatment remotely to justice-involved individuals with opioid use disorders is eligible for this piece of CARA grant funding.

However, local governments that are interested in encouraging use of TES intervention in the treatment of drug abuse must partner with states to pilot programs.

#3 CARA funding is available to help municipal governments that rely on existing and operational PDMPs to develop capacity to reduce prescription drug overdoses.

This means local governments can use funding to establish, enhance or improve collaborations with law enforcement, prosecutors, public health officials, treatment providers, and drug courts that use a state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) system.

The Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts has implemented a way to share intelligence on prescription overdose deaths. Patient prescription histories are referred to the appropriate local board for review, and if deemed appropriate, investigated. Norfolk County DA's office also developed new substance abuse coalitions in communities that do not have them through BJA funding.

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