WASHOE COUNTY, NV January 19, 2023 – In October of 2022, the Washoe County Department of Alternative Sentencing (DAS) launched its Support in Treatment, Accountability, and Recovery (STAR) program. Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) and American Rescue Act (ARPA) granted funding for the STAR program through the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public & Behavioral Health.
STAR is a community-based treatment program that was created as a targeted response to the opioid epidemic as it relates to individuals on pretrial and probation supervision.
“Through establishing and refining existing relationships with the Courts and various arms of Washoe County’s justice system and treatment community, STAR aims to provide consistency in treatment and supervision from pretrial release through post-adjudication supervision,” says Sgt. Andrew Sherbondy of Washoe County DAS. “Our program effectively bridges the gap in services that can occur between point-of-arrest and conviction.”
The team assigned to each individual within the program is composed of an officer, clinician, case manager, and peer support specialist. STAR is partnered with Northern Nevada HOPES, CrossRoads, and the Empowerment Center to create an all-encompassing treatment program. Each STAR participant works through a Courage to Change interactive journaling series, published by The Change Companies, a locally-based organization. This journaling series, a program highlight, is an evidence-based curriculum for overcoming addiction and criminogenic behaviors and is done through group and individual implementation.
The urgency of intervention for individuals dealing with opioid use disorder has never been higher, with the growing prevalence of fentanyl in the state of Nevada and throughout the United States. It is the aim of STAR to be a catalyst for change from the onset for justice-involved people with substance use disorder.
“STAR is a remarkable example of a program that found an urgent need for treatment within their community and created a tailored plan to fit their specific needs,” says Brittney Garrett, Director of Public Safety Training & Outreach at PAARI, “We are honored to be able to work with Washoe County DAS and bring well-deserved light to their program.”
The STAR program has currently filled 16 out of 25 spots for treatment. While a majority of the current caseload has been ordered into STAR as a condition of release, STAR also reviews referrals as they come in for individuals who fit the criteria and who would benefit most from the program. Those that match the criteria for enrollment include those with an opioid use disorder, are considered high risk, and have no sex crime or felonious violence crime records. Referrals can be sent to the STAR Team at: STARDAS@Washoecounty.gov. The team reviews these referrals and completes interviews with the given candidates to determine suitability.
Written by: Isabella Nowak
ABOUT PAARI: The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery. Founded alongside the groundbreaking Gloucester, Mass., Police Department Angel Initiative in June 2015, PAARI has been a driving force behind this rapidly expanding community policing movement. We provide technical assistance, strategic guidance, connection to training resources, and other capacity-building resources to more than 700 police departments in 40 states.
PAARI works with more than 130 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts alone. PAARI and our law enforcement partners are working towards a collective vision where non-arrest diversion programs become a standard policing practice across the country, thereby reducing overdose deaths, expanding access to treatment, improving public safety, reducing crime, diverting people away from the criminal justice system, and increasing trust between law enforcement and their communities. Our programs and partners have saved tens of thousands of lives, changed police culture, and reshaped the national conversation about the opioid epidemic since its founding in June 2015. Learn more at paariusa.org.
ABOUT WASHOE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: The Washoe County Department of Alternative Sentencing (DAS) was established in December 2005 and approved by the Board of County Commissioners under the authority of Nevada Revised Statute 211A. DAS is designed to provide community supervision for people on pretrial release as well as individuals on misdemeanor probation. Through proactive community supervision and thorough case management, supervisees are provided with the tools and support to be successful as they address their court-ordered conditions. Learn more at https://www.washoecounty.gov/altsent/