Smartphone App Links Justice-Involved Individuals to Social Workers, Peer Navigators During Pandemic

Updated: Jun 15

Evidence-Based Platform Connects Individuals with Addiction to Recovery Services


Marietta, OH, (Feb. 22, 2022) – With the U.S. facing two intersecting health crises, the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic, Marietta Municipal Court partnered with the Addiction Policy Forum and the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) to provide digital therapeutic services to 29 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 resources.


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.


“In the midst of the pandemic, when all in-person meetings had to be shut down, the CARE project allowed us to offer services to individuals with substance use disorders that are under community supervision,” said Leah Gregory, Marietta Municipal Court Case Manager.


As a result of using the app, Marietta participants reported improvements in sleep; participation in work, school, and volunteering; time spent with supportive people; and confidence in their recovery.


● Participants' sleep improved by 44.33%.

● Participants’ participation in work, school, and volunteering improved by 0.60%.

● Participants increased time with supportive people by 14.68%.

● Participants' confidence in their recovery and abstinence increased by 2.62%.


Marietta participants also reported reductions in key risk factors associated with substance use disorders.

● Participants' relationship troubles were reduced by 8.50%.

● Participants' risky situations were reduced by 50.00%


According to one program participant, “The app came into my life at about the perfect time, I was feeling so alone in my recovery, there was no place to go because of COVID restrictions and lockdowns.”


“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for people in recovery from substance use disorders,” said Jessica Hulsey, Executive Director of the Addiction Policy Forum. “Changes to programs and recovery support availability, and the continuous stress and isolation during the pandemic has resulted in increases in relapses and overdoses nationwide. This innovative project with the Marietta Municipal Court delivered telehealth recovery support to a vulnerable population at a critical time.”


“The opioid crisis has been devastating to individuals and families across the country,” said Dr. Karen A. Scott, president of FORE. “We are pleased to support innovative solutions and to partner with organizations that provide live saving services to the most vulnerable populations.”


To access a case study about the Marietta Municipal Court project, please visit: https://bit.ly/3LRnROG

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


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.