One-year pilot program designed to provide an alternative option to chronic repeat drug offenders

On February 27th, County and City officials announced the details of the new Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program, known as LEAD. The one-year pilot program is designed to provide an alternative option to chronic repeat drug offenders. Under this new policy, police officers making a drug-related arrest would be able to offer low-level offenders the option of entering into an intensive case management and treatment program instead of jail. Officials believe that up to 500 people may qualify.
Seattle’s successful program was developed six years ago,. According to Fox12 News,  “A study of Seattle’s LEAD program conducted by researchers at the University of Washington followed roughly 200 people who participated in the program and compared them with 100 other people who were arrested and prosecuted as usual. The study found LEAD participants were up to 60 percent less likely to be re-arrested.” Other cities around the country are launching similar programs. Multnomah County’s LEAD Project Manager, Laura Cohen, presented information about the launch of the program and answered questions at the OTCTCA General Meeting at the beginning of March.