Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is a pre-booking
program that allows law enforcement officers to give low-level offenders the
opportunity for rehabilitation in the place of incarceration. The goal of LEAD
is to help individuals who suffer from a substance use disorder by diverting
them from jails and prisons to treatment and recovery programs. The LEAD
program also reduces recidivism and the workload of law enforcement
professionals while improving overall community safety.
The goals of the LEAD program are to:
LEAD got its start in 2011 in Seattle, Washington and gave
individuals referred to the program up to 30 days to report to a treatment
facility. The program has grown and expanded to Albany, NY and Santa Fe,
NM and incorporated the use of social referrals from friends and loved
ones. The most recent large city success comes from Baltimore, MD where
law enforcement focus on specific inner-city areas hit hardest with addiction.
They incorporate wraparound care such as dedicated LEAD officers, case
managers, homeless outreach coordinators, and behavioral health
As part of ongoing efforts to combat the substance use
disorder epidemic, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
(DHHR), Office of Drug Control Policy and DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health have
partnered with five Comprehensive Behavioral Health Facilities to start LEAD
programs. These five partnerships span 17 counties throughout West Virginia:
Barbour, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas,
Pocahontas, Raleigh, Randolph, Summers, Tucker, Upshur, Webster, Wood and
Wyoming. To date, there have been 86 LEAD referrals.