A police-led drug diversion program in Maryland that connects drug users to treatment
Stop, Triage, Engage, Educate and Rehabilitate (STEER) is a pre-booking law enforcement and drug treatment linkage program implemented in Montgomery County, Maryland that aims to provide rapid identification, deflection, and access to treatment for drug-involved individuals as an alternative to conventional arrest. Individuals are assigned a care-coordinator, co-located at the police department, who focuses on rapid treatment access, retention, motivation, engagement and completion, as well as conducts a full clinical assessment and referral. STEER is designed for substance using individuals with a low or moderate crime risk.
Police either approach candidates for STEER at the scene of a chargeable non-violent offense or through the result of an overdose, visit to the emergency department, or other on-the-street knowledge. Police officers and outreach workers use validated risk screening tools to identify those suitable for deflection.
STEER began in 2016 and is a joint initiative of the Montgomery County Police Department, the Police Executive Research Forum, several Maryland treatment centers, and the Center for Health and Justice at TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities). More information on the program can be found in this overview and in this program spotlight.