Hope Partnership Project Overview
In 2014 a multidisciplinary team gathered to develop and implement an initiative known as the Heroin Partnership Program. This team, co-chaired by Karhlton Moore, Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, and Derek Siegle, Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (an office of National Drug Control Policy), includes leadership from the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team, Supreme Court of Ohio, US Department of Justice, Attorney General’s Office, Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, Mental Health and Addition Services, Ohio State Medical Board, Ohio Pharmacy Board, Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, Ohio Prosecutor’s Association, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, and law enforcement agencies across the state.
Our goal is to develop a comprehensive community-wide strategy that treats opiate (including heroin) addiction as a public health problem and effectively reduces opiate addiction related criminal activity. Once developed and validated, this strategy will be shared with other communities to guide their local initiatives.
This program is a cooperative effort involving federal, state, and local agencies which include but are not limited to law enforcement, courts, and a wide variety of community leaders and public health groups concerned about the health and safety of their community. We believe by developing a comprehensive community-wide strategy a partnership will develop that allows for a more efficient and effective means of attacking the heroin problem. A single strategy may not fit neatly into every community’s needs, but the core of any strategy must contain our best known practices. In preparation for developing a strategy and identifying the right communities to provide assistance to we have done or plan to do all of the following:
Prepare a threat assessment to clearly identify the community’s heroin problem. Utilize federal, state, and local resources from all stakeholders within the community, to include law enforcement, the courts, public health officials, and community leaders.
Document crime statistics for use as baseline measurement of project effectiveness. In addition to drug offenses, many theft offenses, burglaries and crimes against persons should be part of baseline statistics. Coroner’s Office information, emergency room visits, and drug treatment information should also be included.
Offer assistance to law enforcement, courts, community leaders, public health groups and other relevant partners. Communicate our desire to help these groups implement a proven strategy that will help them resolve the heroin problem within their community. Having community buy in is essential to the success of the strategy. Assistance will include, but is not limited to, technical expertise and assistance, a collaboration of additional law enforcement partners, and funding to support evidence- based solutions.
Hope Partnership Program’s Role
This project represents a large collaboration of organizations who are all dedicated to assisting the selected community to reduce overdose deaths. Each agency will provide resources to the effort. However, below is a non-exhaustive list of resources that a few agencies will bring to the table.
The State Medical Board will provide investigative resources, nurses for medical record review and attorneys to provide guidance to prosecutors in criminal cases involving licensees. Additionally, the Board has the capability to summarily suspend a medical license if there is clear and convincing evidence that an immediate threat to the public exists. The Board will work closely with criminal prosecutor to parallel the administrative case minimizing the exposure of evidence and avoid any conflicts. Historically the Board has collaborated well with other agencies combating the opiate/heroin epidemic, resulting in closing of “pill mills” in Ohio, and will continue to focus on this priority.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol: can offer their support through their 30 canines, 4 specialized criminal patrol investigators (they can also offer Investigative Services Assets upon demand depending on the situation), Special Response Team (SRT) assets for high-risk suspect apprehension or warrant service, aviation assets, as well as their Intelligence Unit (assets like Scott Basom) to support operations and missions.
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area can provide funding through the Domestic Highway Enforcement Initiative and OSHP who administers the program for HIDTA to pay overtime for patrol units to conduct saturation patrol or increased patrol/interdiction efforts in the selected area. HIDTA also will provide deconfliction and analytical resources if needed. If nexus to HIDTA designated county it will be easy to fund efforts by HIDTA funded task forces in the selected area. HIDTA can also utilize the U.S. Marshal Service for fugitive apprehension.
The Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services will provide funding through the JAG program. The program is very flexible and will allow communities to fund a number of different types of criminal justice needs they might have. OCJS can also provide expertise and technical assistance with program implementation and evaluation, including assisting in determining the success of the overall initiative.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will provide support and partnership in investigative, community corrections (both non-residential and residential) and supervision resources as applicable; potential funding through community correction dollars; fugitive apprehension assistance; training and/or technical assistance in treatment and program options, supervision strategies and funding alternatives.