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Supporting Youth and Families Impacted by Opioid Use



Opioid substance use disorders continue to negatively impact communities across America. In 2021, there were 80,411 reported overdose deaths with 75.4 percent attributed to opioids, that's up from 50 percent in 2019. 

Opioid dependency has 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 use disorders, including opioid misuse 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 year (FY) 2023, OJJDP awarded $16.5 million to address opioid and other substance misuse under the Mentoring for Youth Affected by Opioid and Other Substance Misuse program and $9.6 million for the Opioid Affected Youth Initiative.

  • Fiscal Year 2023—$27.6 million
  • Fiscal Year 2022—$26.8 million
  • Fiscal Year 2021—$30.6 million


Family Treatment Court Program - This program serves parents and guardians who require treatment for a substance misuse 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 use 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 the Opioid Crisis and Drug Addiction – This program funds mentoring for substance-using youth and those at risk for misusing substances, as well as youth with family members who are currently misusing 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 data-driven, coordinated responses to the opioid epidemic. Funding supports programs and services to youth and families impacted by both opioids and other substance use disorders. Learn more about the Initiative on the Opioid Affected Youth Initiative website.

 Webinar Series | Opioid Affected Youth Initiative

This eight-part series will address the challenges associated with opioid and other substance use disorders (SUDs) among children and families and promote cultural-centered responses to reduce stigma related to SUD. 

These sessions will be dedicated to understanding the specific needs of vulnerable communities and building an evidence-based, holistic, and targeted approach to integrating strategies and solutions to enhance family supports. The goal is to provide a framework for data-informed decision-making that promotes collaborative efforts among key stakeholders while educating on how to address addiction, reduce overdose deaths and harms associated with SUD, promote prevention and recovery, as well as customize responses to vulnerable communities impacted by opioids and other SUDs. 

Topics in this webinar series include:

  • Parent and Caregiver Engagement
  • Trauma
  • Victimization
  • Substance Use Disorder
  • Harm Reduction
  • Work Place Practices and Supports

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 dependency. 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 use and misuse.

Opioid Affected Youth Initiative (OAYI) Youth Advisory Board (YAB) - Formally the Youth National Opioid and Wellness (YNOW) Task Force, it aims to create collaborative opportunities for emerging leaders ages 18 to 24 to lead actionable efforts toward improving support for youth and families impacted by opioids and other substance use disorders through the lens of their lived experiences. 


OAYI's "Answering the Call" Podcast Series

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Date Created: September 11, 2020