Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative (RJOI)


The courts are experiencing an ever-increasing number of opioid-related cases which span criminal, family, juvenile, and civil dockets. In response to the need for information, education, and resources to address this epidemic, RJOI was created.



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RJOI Activities


    Child Welfare

    Evidence-Based Practices

    Prescription Drug Monitoring

    Regional Treatment Capacity


Calendar of Events

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About RJOI

In August of 2016, a multi-state regional summit was convened in Cincinnati, Ohio by the Supreme Court of Ohio. Over 150 attendees, along with national partners, representing states across the region at the epicenter of the opioid epidemic met to discuss the impact of the opioid epidemic in the region. Summit delegates developed a regional action plan with strategies to combat the opioid epidemic and formed the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative (RJOI).

In September 2017, the Leadership Committee finalized the RJOI Charter signed by the Chief Justices from the region and established the organizational structure of the initiative. The eight RJOI states include: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Information regarding all of the RJOI committees can be accessed here.

RJOI State Resources and Team Membership

Every RJOI state has a number of justice system related initiatives under way in response to the opioid crisis. Information regarding initiatives, members, and partners can be accessed utilizing the dropdown menu below.

State Highlights: Kentucky


Sobriety Treament and Recovery Teams (START)

START (Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams) is a child welfare based intervention for families with young children affected by co-occurring parental substance use and child maltreatment. START pairs a specially trained child welfare social worker with a family mentor, who is a person in long-term recovery with previous child welfare experience to help guide and coach the family through both the recovery and child welfare process. START intervenes quickly after the family comes to the attention of child welfare. START provides quick access to a holistic assessment and treatment services for all parents addressing substance use, mental health and trauma. It includes a service delivery system that involves cross-system collaboration and frequent and intense coordinated service delivery.

START is adapted from a model that began in the 1990s in Cleveland, Ohio. Kentucky began implementing START in 2007 and evolved the model to meet the needs of Kentucky families. With current expansion efforts Kentucky will have START sites in seven unique counties.

START has a rigorous program evaluation and the model has produced positive outcomes for families. Mothers who participated in START achieved sobriety at nearly twice the rate of mothers treated without START. Children in families served by START were half as likely to be placed in state custody as compared with children in a matched control group. This outcome also results in cost-effectiveness-for every $1.00 spent on START, Kentucky potentially avoided spending $2.22 on foster care.