This bill would create a Dept. of Justice (DOJ) grant program for state and local governments to use to provide services related to opioid abuse. $103 million per year in grants would be used for the purpose of creating a treatment-focused alternative to incarceration and preventing illegal activities that lead to opioid abuse. Opioids are narcotic drugs that may be created using opium from poppy seed or synthetically, which is often the case with many prescription painkillers.
The treatment alternative to incarceration could include the following:
Pre- or post-booking screenings;
Training for criminal justice personnel on the linkage between substance abuse and mental illness;
A mental health court;
A drug court;
A veterans treatment court.
States would be able to use these grants to improve planning and collaboration between state criminal justice agencies and state substance abuse programs with the goal of addressing opioid abuse. It would also provide for purchasing overdose reversal drugs and training first responders to administer the drug. Additional uses could include:
Investigating the unlawful distribution of opioids;
Developing a medication-assisted treatment program;
Creating or expanding a prescription drug monitoring program to track how often the drugs are dispensed at pharmacies; a program to prevent and address opioid use by people under the age of 18; and / or a comprehensive opioid abuse response program.
Applications would be submitted by the state, local, or tribal government’s chief executive officer to the Attorney General’s office. Before rejecting an application, the Attorney General would be required to notify the applicant about any problems with their application. The Attorney General would be required to ensure that the grants are awarded on an equitable basis geographically.