Smartphone App Connects Justice-Involved Individuals with Recovery Services During Pandemic

Updated: Jun 15

Evidence-Based Platform Links Individuals in Recovery with Social Workers, Peer Navigators


Atlanta, GA, (Jan. 25, 2022) – With the U.S. facing two intersecting health crises, the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision (GDCS) partnered with the Addiction Policy Forum and the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) to provide digital therapeutic services to 111 justice-involved individuals with substance use disorders. Services offered included one-on-one virtual meetings with social workers and peer-navigators, online support group meetings, a weekly forum of resources about wellness, including how to access COVID-19 vaccines.


The initiative was part of a national project that has provided services to 634 justice-involved individuals with a substance use disorder from 21 criminal justice agencies spread across 16 states.


“As a Department, we are committed to effectuating change in the lives of those under our supervision by leveraging innovative technology in conjunction with the latest research,” said Sherri Bloodworth, Director of the Recidivism Reduction Unit for the Georgia Department of Community Supervision. “Organizations like the Addiction Policy Forum and the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) partner in our mission to connect those under supervision and their communities with resources that will help them succeed during these unprecedented times. Bloodworth further added.


Georgia participants reported reductions in relationship troubles; depression/anxiety; urges/cravings; and risky situations.

● Participants' relationship troubles were reduced by 16.75%.

● Participants' depression and anxiety were reduced by 27.88%.

● Participants' urges and cravings were reduced by 36.36%.

● Participants' risky situations were reduced by 7.38%.


In addition, Georgia participants in the project also reported improvements in key protective factors for recovery from substance use disorders.

● Participants' sleep improved by 24.54%.

● Participants participation in work, school, and volunteering improved by 3.66%.

● Participants participation in support groups increased by 3.09%.

● Participants' confidence in their recovery and abstinence increased by 4.58%.


According to one program participant, “There was no place to go because of COVID restrictions and lockdowns, and after being on the app for a while I learned that there was a recovery meeting on Thursday night, which was great. I met a lot of really cool, genuine, and honest people and they helped me to open up about my alcoholism.”


“The COVID-19 pandemic created significant challenges for those struggling with addiction,” explained Jessica Hulsey, Executive Director of the Addiction Policy Forum. “While justice-involved individuals with opioid use disorder are particularly at-risk, COVID-19 presented further challenges and disruptions in care. The continuous stress, changes to programs and recovery support availability, and isolation during the pandemic resulted in increases in relapses and overdoses nationwide. This innovative project with the Georgia Department of Community Supervision utilized telehealth and a smartphone app to provide addiction support services at a critical time.”


“It is more important than ever to support innovative solutions to combat the opioid crisis that is devastating so many individuals and families across our country,” said Dr. Karen A. Scott, president of FORE. “We are pleased to partner with organizations who are providing life-saving services to the most vulnerable populations.”


To access a case study about the Georgia Department of Community Supervision (GDCS) project, please visit: https://bit.ly/3FMBudu

With questions regarding this press release, please contact Shawn Rogers at srogers@addictionpolicy.org.

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About the Georgia Department of Community Supervision (GDCS)

The Department of Community Supervision is responsible for the community-based supervision of more than 200,000 adults, and Class A and Class B designated juveniles.

It is the mission of the Georgia Department of Community Supervision to protect and serve all Georgia citizens through effective and efficient offender supervision in our communities while providing opportunities for successful outcomes. DCS employs evidence-based practices to hold individuals accountable and reduce the state’s recidivism rate. For more information, visit dcs.georgia.gov.


About Addiction Policy Forum

Addiction Policy Forum is a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating addiction as a major health problem. Our national headquarters are located in North Bethesda, MD with resources and services in every state. More information on our mission and projects is available at our website, https://www.addictionpolicy.org.

About FORE

The Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) was founded in 2018 as a private 501(c)(3) national, grant-making foundation focused on addressing the nation’s opioid crisis. FORE is committed to funding a diversity of projects contributing solutions to the crisis at national, state, and community levels. FORE’s mission is to support partners advancing patient-centered, innovative, evidence-based solutions impacting people experiencing opioid use disorder, their families, and their communities. Through convening, grantmaking and developing informational resources, FORE seeks to bring about long-term change. To date, FORE has awarded 46 grants totaling $13.4 million.