The opioid crisis is devastating communities across America, accounting for almost 70 percent of the nearly 67,400 drug overdose deaths in 2018. In 2017, more than 4,000 deaths among youth ages 15–24 were attributed to opioid overdose.
Opioid dependency and abuse have disrupted public safety – increasing the burden on law enforcement as well as the healthcare, child welfare, and juvenile and criminal justice systems.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP's) drug courts serve youth and families with substance abuse challenges, including opioid abuse or co-occurring mental health disorders.
Through additional opioid-focused programs and specialized training and technical assistance, OJJDP is working to break the cycles of addiction and crime and help save lives.
In fiscal years (FY) 2018 and 2019, OJJDP awarded nearly $41 million to respond to the opioid epidemic. In FY 2017, efforts to combat opioid abuse were supported through funding for drug courts.
- Fiscal Year 2019—$26 million
- Fiscal Year 2018—$16.7 million
Family Drug Court Program - This program serves parents and guardians who require treatment for a substance abuse disorder and who are involved with the child welfare system due to child abuse or neglect. Program goals are to strengthen parenting skills, to reduce incidents of child abuse and neglect resulting from addiction, and to provide services to the children affected.
Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Program - This program supports treatment and services for youth with substance abuse problems. The courts work to strengthen family engagement, address the root problems that may cause substance use and addiction, and empower young people to lead drug-free and crime-free lives.
Mentoring for Youth Impacted by Opioids and Drug Addiction – This program funds mentoring for substance-abusing youth and those at risk for abusing substances, as well as youth with family members who misuse drugs. OJJDP supports local, regional, and national organizations as they strengthen and expand their mentoring services for vulnerable youth.
Opioid Affected Youth Initiative – The Opioid Affected Youth Initiative provides funding to states, local governments, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and tribal jurisdictions to develop coordinated responses to the opioid epidemic. Grantees provide integrated programs in partnership with local representatives that address public safety concerns, intervention and prevention services for children, youth, and families who have been impacted by opioids and substance abuse. Training and technical assistance helps analyze data and outcome measures to improve service delivery and coordination between grantees and stakeholders.
Training and Technical Assistance
Child Abuse Training for Judicial and Court Personnel - This training helps improve participants' response to child abuse cases, including cases that involve children affected by opioid abuse. It emphasizes evidence-based treatment, family engagement and reunification when it is in the best interest of the child, and information sharing across the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.
In April, OJJDP sponsored a three-part webinar series with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals on enhancing supervising strategies, keeping youth and families engaged in treatment and continuing to help youth build skills.
The OJJDP National Mentoring Resource Center provides no-cost specialized technical assistance to mentoring programs to support their efforts in implementing evidence-based mentoring practices. Specialized technical assistance is available from expert providers on monitoring strategies for youth affected by substance abuse and misuse.
- In Focus: Drug Courts (April 2020)
- In Focus: Supporting Youth and Families Impacted by Opioid Abuse (September 2020)
- OJJDP, National Institute of Justice and Bureau of Justice Assistance: Drug Courts (January 2020)
- Mentoring for Preventing and Reducing Substance Use and Associated Risks Among Youth (January 2020)
- Mentoring to Support Youth, Families, and Communities Impacted by the Opioid Crisis
- NIJ's Role in the Strategy to Combat Heroin and Other Opioids: 2019 Update (December 2019)
- OJJDP 2020 Annual Report (January 2021)
- OJJDP News @ a Glance, May/June 2018: Stakeholder Corner: 4-H Mentoring Program Helps Mitigate Effects of Opioid Crisis on Youth in West Virginia (May/June 2018)
- OJJDP News @ a Glance, November/December 2019: Stakeholder Corner: Supporting Vermont Youth and Families Impacted by the Opioid Crisis (November/December 2019)
- Federal Agencies Work Toward Reducing Opioid Impact on Youth (April 2019)
- Marshaling Resources to Address Addiction in the Midst of a Pandemic (April 2020)
- You Are Not Alone (May 2020)