When NE RJOI was established in 2019, state courts had been experiencing an ever-increasing number of opioid-related cases for over a decade which spanned criminal, family, juvenile, and civil dockets.
In response to the need for information, education, and resources to address the overdose epidemic specific to the New England region, the New England Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative (NE RJOI) was created and is led by chief justices from six participating states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Four committees were established to focus the initiative's work: Evidence-Based Programming, Regional Resources, Coordination of Services Across State Lines, and Training and Education.
NE RJOI supports the earliest identification of client needs based on screening and assessment tools that are then used to match the client to the appropriate evidence-based interventions for individuals before the court (criminal or family).
Overdose Fatality Review (OFR) Teams. Informative articles, reports, recommendations, legislation, templates, manuals, websites, and videos.
The Regional Resources Committee will gather/create a New England-wide directory of treatment programs and eligibility criteria to support the NE RJOI network. In addition, the committee will consider leveraging the purchasing power of the region for resources that lend themselves to this model (e.g., drug testing, transportation).
Coordination of services across state lines
This committee is working toward a more coordinated response across state lines on services utilized by clients/children/families. Clients/children/families will receive high quality treatment and services in New England without regard to state boundary lines. The committee will consider probation services, treatment services, courts, placement of children, and Medicaid/insurance.
Training and education
The Training and Education Committee supports increasing the knowledge of best practices in the region through identifying and sharing training resources. NE RJOI intends to identify and seek positive media opportunities to improve awareness of substance use disorder and associated stigmas and the courts' supportive/accountable responses.