Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Wednesday announced a $4 million grant for Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) to provide training and technical assistance for communities developing or implementing deflection and pre-arrest diversion programs to help those with substance-use disorder get the help and treatment they need.

The initiative will support communities that have experienced an increase in violent crime. A new Substance Use Deflection Center of Excellence within NEOMED’s existing Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence will be established to undertake this work. The center will also conduct research on enhancing the effectiveness of deflection and diversion programs.

“The technical assistance resulting from this project will be an invaluable resource to Quick Response Teams (QRTs) around the state,” said Governor DeWine. “Ultimately, we hope that by expanding access to resources, more Ohioans will get the help and treatment they need.”

The Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) is administering the grant for the new initiative through Ohio’s portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

Pre-arrest deflection/diversion programs, such as QRTs, use treatment services and peer support to reduce reliance on the criminal justice system.

Partners in the initiative include RecoveryOhio, the University of Cincinnati, QRT National/Operation to Save Lives, Ohio QRT Association and Cordata Healthcare Innovations.

Immediately after taking office in 2019, Governor DeWine signed an executive order creating the RecoveryOhio initiative to support aggressive measures to combat the opiate epidemic by investing in the health and well-being of Ohio citizens.

OCJS is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. By statute, OCJS is the lead justice planning and assistance office for the state, administering millions of dollars in state and federal criminal justice funding every year. OCJS also evaluates programs and develops technology, training, and products for criminal justice professionals and communities.