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Supporting Youth and Families Impacted by Opioid Use



The opioid crisis is devastating communities across America, accounting for about 50 percent of the nearly 70,630 drug overdose deaths in 2019. Opioid misuse is prevalent among teens. One in 7 high school students reported misusing prescription opioids in their lifetime and one in 14 high school students reported current prescription opioid misuse.

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 challenges, 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.

OJJDP FY21 Awards for Substance Use Programs and Initiatives
OJJDP FY 2021 Awards for Substance Use Programs | View OJJDP Awards Infographic


In fiscal year (FY) 2021, OJJDP awarded $16 million to address opioid and other substance use under the Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative and $9 million for the Opioid Affected Youth Initiative. In FY 2018 and 2019, OJJDP awarded nearly $41 million to respond to the opioid epidemic.  

  • Fiscal Year 2021—$30.6 million
  • Fiscal Year 2020—$33.5 million
  • Fiscal Year 2019—$26 million
  • Fiscal Year 2018—$16.7 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.


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Date Created: September 11, 2020