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How federal grants will help GBI, Drug Courts in opioid fight
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The Department of Justice announced Oct. 1 that it will give almost $320 million nationwide in grants targeting the opioid crisis, with the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation receiving some of the funding.

The projects will increase information sharing as well as a statewide program focused on helping Drug Court participants.

The GBI is set to receive nearly $500,000 from the Bureau of Justice Assistance under the Technology Innovation for Public Safety grant program, which will focus on enabling “strategic information sharing across agencies to address the opioid epidemic,” according to the Department of Justice.

GBI officials did not provide further details on what this grant will specifically accomplish.

More than $1 million went to the council for the “Opioid Affected Youth Initiative,” which will address opioid abuse.

Samantha Wolf, communications and external affairs director for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, said the grant was applied for in a partnership with the attorney general’s office and the statewide opioid task force.

“After conducting a comprehensive gap needs analysis, this project will target evidence-based programming for youth with (an) identified opioid-abuse disorder,” Wolf wrote in an email.

The council also received funding for a statewide program “that will be administered in partnership with the Council of Accountability Court Judges” for Drug Court participants.

The funding will go toward Seeking Safety or similar programs focused on trauma and substance abuse. According to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Seeking Safety treatment “focuses on building coping skills and psycho-education, rather than focusing on past traumatic events.”

Wolf said there has not been a determination yet on how the funds will be awarded.

Other grants received by the council were on behalf of the Savannah Police Department and the Seventh Judicial Circuit serving Northwest Georgia for opioid response training and drug court treatment options, respectively.