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Harm Reduction and Community-Based Diversion

header-title-decorationHarm Reduction and Community-Based Diversion

ODR is committed to implementing a range of harm reduction and community-based approaches that support people who use drugs, people engaged in sex work, people with mental health needs, to reduce  criminal justice system contact (by expanding alternatives to arrest or booking with Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion-LEAD), and connect them to evidence-based care. Interventions in the community, like overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND), are central harm reduction approaches since they have shown positive benefits for public health, including improving public safety, increasing connections to substance use treatment and primary healthcare, and reducing the number of opioid overdose deaths.


Began November, 2017

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) represents ODR’s efforts to intervene at the earliest point of contact with law enforcement to reduce the number of individuals who enter the jail system and to stem further justice involvement. LEAD is a pre-arrest community-based diversion program that diverts individuals with repeated low-level drug and sex work related offenses at the earliest contact with law enforcement and links them with harm reduction based case management and social services as an alternative to jail and prosecution.People who participate in LEAD were 58% less likely to be arrested compared to those who went through the “system as usual” criminal justice processing.

LEAD is overseen by the stakeholder-driven LEAD Policy Committee, which includes public defenders, prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, harm reduction organizations, substance use treatment services, health and housing service providers, justice reform advocates, community members and people with lived experience of incarceration, substance use, and homelessness.

ODR currently manages three LEAD sites in Los Angeles County: South Los Angeles/North Long Beach, Hollywood and East Los Angeles.


Began June 2019

The Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) program aims to reduce the number of deaths related to opioid overdose in LA County. OEND provides overdose prevention education and naloxone to individuals who are at risk of opioid overdose or who are likely to be at the scene of an overdose and are in a position to respond. ODR and Community Health Project Los Angeles (CHPLA) provide overdose prevention and response trainings, access to naloxone (a life saving medication), harm reduction supplies and technical assistance to providers working with populations at higher risk of overdose.

OEND also manages a naloxone on release program in the LA County jails, which provides overdose prevention and response video training and access to free naloxone for every individual who is released from LA County jail. During the first 9 months of 2020, more than 20,000 doses of naloxone were distributed through free self-serve vending machines located in the secure release areas of LA County jails.

OEND runs Naloxone Access Points (NAPs) across the County to provide overdose prevention and response training, naloxone distribution and refills, overdose debrief counseling and linkage to relevant services.

Visit for a map of NAPs, links to training videos, and other resources.