In December 2022, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett received the Addiction Policy Forum’s most prestigious lifetime achievement award given to an individual for their dedication to changing how the U.S. responds to addiction.
During his twenty years serving as District Attorney of Essex County, Massachusetts, Blodgett has been a leader in confronting a range of issues, including the opioid epidemic. He instituted an adult drug diversion program for non-violent offenders with substance use disorders charged with drug-related offenses. This program provides eligible candidates the opportunity to receive comprehensive substance use treatment services in lieu of being prosecuted through the traditional court process. He also expanded juvenile and youthful diversion programs throughout the county.
Blodgett established a nationally-recognized program to support children impacted by parental addiction. The middle school program uses an evidence-based social-emotional-learning curriculum that teaches students about substance use, prevention, and leadership. Referrals for participation come from teachers, social workers, the MA Department of Children and Family, DCF, the local Community Health Center, adjustment counselors, guidance counselors, the police department, and other outside agencies. Staffed by a guidance counselor, a police officer, social workers, and teachers in the school, the program creates a positive rapport with students, allowing for a safe learning environment where difficult topics and experiences can be discussed and processed, and partners with a behavioral health provider for services for students. To date, 95 percent of All Stars graduates completed high school in four years, and no participating students have had Juvenile Justice involvement.
Retired General Barry McCaffrey and APF founder Jessica Hulsey presented the award in a ceremony to Massachusetts law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and school administrators. DA Blodgett announced his retirement at the end of the year after serving Essex County for over two decades.
Blodgett is the Chairman of the Board of Addiction Policy Forum, and served as the President of the National District Attorneys Association, on the Board of the Massa Office of Victim Assistance, and on the Board and the executive committee of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.