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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

University at Buffalo: Study Asks – Do Opioid Intervention Courts Work?

The nation’s first Opioid Intervention Court (OIC) was established in Buffalo in 2017 after — in a single week — three traditional drug-treatment court defendants fatally overdosed on opioids before their second court appearance.

OIC aims to prevent such tragedies by offering medication-assisted treatment to nonviolent offenders with opioid-use disorder within hours of their arrest.

While the court has clearly had an impact, policymakers and providers want evidence to show that the unique legal, social and psychological assistance the court provides contribute to positive results.

Starting this month, UB researchers, including those from the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions, are working to provide just that.

With funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they have begun a scientifically rigorous study to evaluate the OIC’s strategy and compare in various ways the outcomes of OIC participants with a group of participants enrolled in traditional drug treatment court.

“The study ultimately addresses a leading cause of accidental death in the United States: drug overdose,” said Dr. Gregory G. Homish, professor and interim chair of the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions.

“We will deepen our understanding about OIC and traditional drug-court participants over a 12-month period,” according to Dr. Linda Kahn, a principal investigator on the study and professor and associate vice chair for research for the Primary Care Research Institute in the Department of Family Medicine at the Jacobs School.

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