Listen to OSI-Baltimore’s Scott Nolen, director of our Drug Addiction Treatment Program, on the Marc Steiner show talking about Baltimore’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. The program, officially launched in a press conference last week, aims to reduce the number of people jailed due to low-level drug offenses by diverting offenders to treatment and other support services and away from arrest. OSI-Baltimore, the primary funder of the program, announced the program in December 2015.
Nolen spoke about the origins of the program in Seattle as well as the health, social and economic successes seen there. The idea behind the program, said Nolen, was to support police and community advocates to “think differently about the way in which we address substance use in the community.” He also discussed the need to be thoughtful about the needs of the particular area, and not simply transplanting what’s been done in another city. “Baltimore is a different place and we want to scale up in a way that makes sense for Baltimore City.”
Nolen was part of a discussion with Crista Taylor, Vice President for Programs of the Behavioral Health System of Baltimore; and Captain James Rhoden, Baltimore City Police Department.
Diana Morris, director of OSI-Baltimore, joined Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, and other leaders at police headquarters to announce the launch the LEAD program. (Watch the full press conference here.)