The Barnstable Drug Court is set to significantly expand services to participants, thanks to a nearly $1 million dollar, three-year federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The initiative, a partnership of the Trial Court, UMass Medical School's Center of Excellence, and AdCare Criminal Justice Services, held its kick off meeting earlier this month at the Barnstable District Court.

Those in attendance included Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey, First Justice Kathryn Hand, presiding Barnstable Drug Court Judge John Julian, Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe, Dr. David Smelson from UMASS Medical School's Department of Psychiatry, Sheriff James Cummings, Director of Specialty Courts for the District Court Department Judge Mary Hogan Sullivan, and Specialty Courts Administrator Sheila Casey.

The $975,000 multi-year grant will embed case managers and peer mentors in the court to coordinate and deliver services. The drug court in Barnstable is the only one of its kind on the Cape, an area that offers few addiction treatment options relative to need. The drug court opened in January 2002, and serves approximately 50 to 55 court-involved adults per year. The grant will serve 30 participants with both substance use disorders and co-existing mental health issues.  

In her remarks, Chief Justice Carey cited recent statistics from the state’s Department of Public Health[1] on the rapid rise and impact of the opioid epidemic in the Commonwealth, saying that 1,256 people died from opioid overdoses in 2014, a 34 percent increase from 2013 and a “startling” 88 percent jump from 2012.

“Barnstable is one of the counties hardest hit by the epidemic in the state, which is why we’re re-focusing our efforts to support the community here with an expanded drug court,” said Chief Justice Carey. “This grant will help the Trial Court substantially increase its ability to respond to the growing treatment needs on Cape Cod, where adults often struggle to find support services. The MISSION model will help us strengthen the links we’re building between the courts and Cape-based treatment service providers.”

Chief Justice Carey also noted that opioids kill more people in Massachusetts than car accidents and guns, and that four out of every five addicts get hooked on opioids through pain medications, many of whom start with legally prescribed medicine.

What’s the MISSION model of care? MISSION (Maintaining Independence and Sobriety through Systems Integration, Outreach, and Networking) is a wraparound model of care. Embedded directly into the courts, MISSION provides referrals and linkages to services as drug court participants need them. The model will enable the court to combine evidence-based services into a comprehensive system of care. Core services include Critical Time Intervention (CTI), Dual Recovery Therapy (DRT), and peer support; community-based support will include services such as vocational and educational training, and trauma-informed care.

The project’s goals are to reduce the rate of recidivism and improve rates of sobriety while reducing mental health symptoms and improving use of community supports. Each MISSION team will include a peer support specialist and case manager, and will work with approximately 15 clients to provide services and links to appropriate community resources. The team will help supervise each probationer for six months to a year, depending on the level of support needed.



[1] Sources: Data Brief: Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths Among Massachusetts Residents, and Data Brief: Confirmed Unintentional/Undetermined Opioid-related Overdose Deaths Among Massachusetts Residents – Demographic Data Highlights; as of January 29, 2016: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/quality/drugcontrol/county-level-pmp/data-brief-oct-2015-overdose-county.pdf and http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/quality/drugcontrol/county-level-pmp/data-brief-apr-2015-overdose-county.pdf

Who’s who: MISSION Cape Project

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – federal funding agency

Executive Office of the Trial Court – grant recipient and project coordinators

Barnstable Drug Court – recruitment site

UMass Medical School – evaluation and project coordinators

AdCare Criminal Justice Services – treatment service provider      

Learn more…

The Cape Cod Times covered the event

The MISSION Treatment Manual