LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) is a public safety program in which police officers exercise discretionary authority to divert individuals suspected of low level, non-violent crime driven by unmet behavioral health needs to community based health services instead of arrest, jail and prosecution.

Diversions From Arrest In Santa Fe Since 2014.

How It Works

In lieu of arrest for a low-level, non-violent drug related crime, individuals are referred by law enforcement into a trauma-informed case-management program where the individual receives a wide range of support services. The aim of the program is to stop the cycle of arrest, prosecution and incarceration by addressing issues such as addiction, untreated mental illness, homelessness and poverty through a public health framework that reduces reliance on the criminal justice system.

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The Impact

Since May of 2014, 174 individuals have been diverted into LEAD. Of those, 70% engaged in services. Highlights of the 3 year pilot evaluation showed a significant decrease in the number of LEAD clients who used heroin in the past 30 days, and a significant increase in the number of clients using medication assisted treatment. LEAD clients were detained in jail significantly fewer days than the comparison group post referral. The cost of the LEAD program over 3 years was $9,507 per individual vs. $42,000 per individual in the system as usual over 3 years.

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LEAD is based in a harm reduction approach for all service provision.  LEAD does not require abstinence, and clients cannot be sanctioned for drug use or drug relapse. LEAD recognizes that drug misuse is a complex problem and people need to be reached where they currently are in their lives. The program incorporates measures like health, employment, and overall well-being – instead of abstinence – into the program’s goals.

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About LEAD Santa Fe Video

"I've never felt so good! Now I've been given a chance to save my life. Turn negative into positive. Time to fix my mistakes. Honesty, support and serenity are my stepping-stones. Recovery is possible. I'm living proof. Forever growing."

LEAD Santa Fe Participant

“I had a guard up against any type of law enforcement, and definitely my mind has changed. I now understand that law enforcement is there to keep the community safe.”

LEAD Santa Fe Participant

"I appreciate every single thing you have done to help me along my journey to sobriety….I was heading to one of two places when we met and that was jail or my grave and with your help you saved my life and I am truly grateful for that. …I feel like I can tell you anything without being judged for it because you know all the struggles of being an addict. You tell it like it is. I don’t know how to show you how grateful I am but I do hope this shows you how much you mean to me and how much I appreciate you and this program."

"People that are addicted are ill, they deserve respect, compassion and assistance, don't look the other way because that isn't the solution, we must all care. Please realize from a MOM ' s perspective the most important thing I want you ALL to remember is the addicted are Human Beings. LEAD gave my Son a NEW PATH to follow without judgment, they meet with him, work with him and most of they care about him.....this is HARM REDUCTION at it's BEST."

Parent of LEAD Santa Fe Participant

"My son has 1 year and 7 months sobriety all because of the LEAD Program and all the staff that helped. Thank you."

Parent of LEAD Santa Fe Participant

"I had a guard up against any type of law enforcement, and definitely my mind has changed. I now understand that law enforcement is there to keep the community safe."

LEAD Santa Fe Participant

"My life is good. I’m going to be buying a house in about a year. It could be sooner, I got preapproved—I don’t know how! But if you’d told me this a year ago, I would have said you’re crazy! But these responsibilities, it’s what I’ve wanted, and I’m really happy. I’m happy with life."

LEAD Santa Fe Participant

"It’s just made me more aware of what recovery is. I thought once I stopped doing drugs, I’m going to be good and get my life back together. However, I don’t have a job [yet], but recovery doesn’t happen overnight; it takes a long time and it is important to be patient with it."

LEAD Santa Fe Participant

"I wanted to die. Every day that I woke up, I felt like. I couldn’t go anywhere without my drug. I couldn’t function without it. I just felt so lost. Now, I have direction. I’m motivated. I’m very confident, and I’ve never felt any stronger in my life…"

LEAD Santa Fe Participant

"I have a team that is constantly wanting to help, going out of their way to call me or text me just to see how I’m doing when not even my own family does that. So, it’s a self-esteem booster. It’s confidence in knowing that I am a person too. I am not just a drug addict."

LEAD Santa Fe Participant