When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York in March 2020, it forced drug courts across the state to hear cases remotely using teleservices, a practice that has continued. The pandemic also demonstrated that many daily drug court operations—appearances, case management, graduation ceremonies—could be conducted virtually.
As part of the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP), this report details a three-year project to implement the Opioid Reduction Teleservices Program, conducted by the Center for Court Innovation, in partnership with the New York State Unified Court System and the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). The goals were fourfold: (1) to expand access to evidence-based interventions at OASAS-licensed treatment facilities; (2) to establish secure video connections at the treatment facilities so that people in residential programs can appear remotely for court hearings and receive evidence-based judicial monitoring; (3) to remote link participants to medical professionals for evaluation and access to medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD); and (4) to educate the field about technology-based solutions to the opioid epidemic.
The report offers profiles of several project partners and discusses outcomes, lessons learned, measures toward sustainability, and recommendations for future COSSAP projects.