Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program (NADP)

Chicago sits amid a national opioid epidemic with devastating social, health, and economic consequences. More Americans die from opioid overdoses than from homicides or car accidents every year, including in Chicago where the homicide rate is exceptionally high. Many thousands more suffer the impacts of opioid use disorder every day.

In Chicago, the opioid crisis disproportionately affects communities on the city's West Side, where open-air markets supply the majority of Chicagoland's heroin. Individuals living in these communities not only face the crime and violence brought on by the drug trade but are also widely affected by opioid use: while the West Side makes up roughly 7% of Chicago's population, it accounts for 20% of the city's fatal overdoses. Additionally, as a resut of historic disenfranchisement and segregation, people living in Chicago's high-drug traffic areas are disproporitionately Black and experience poverty at rates far higher than the rest of the city. 

Clinicians and policymakers have long hypothesized that diverting some drug-involved arrestees away from the criminal justice system and into treatment could offer long-term benefits. This arguement is supported by evaluations of the pioneering Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program (LEAD) in Seattle, which diverted low-level drug arrestees into treatment and has been found to reduce recidivism. Recognizing the need for a similar intervention in Chicago, the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area developed the Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program (NADP) in partnership with community healthcare provider Thresholds and researchers at the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Health Lab. NADP is a police-led, drug diversion program that provides supportive interventions for individuals apprehended for drug possession. It is the largest effort of its kind in the United States -- as of September 2021, NADP has connected 818 individuals with substance use treatment in lieu of further criminal justice system processing. Initially piloted on the city's West Side in 2018, the program expanded citywide in November 2021. Early results show that the program improves public safety and that the program is reaching those who stand to benfit the most from it. 

On June 8, 2022, the Mayor's Office announced the expansion of NADP to offer the program to 42% more individuals by expanding NADP eligibility to include more types and higher weights of drugs. Learn more here

For a short summary on NADP and its initial findings, click here

To view the full academic working paper that assesses the effectiveness of NADP, click here