Skip to main content
Press Release

DOJ Grant Will Support Jefferson County Health Department Resource Recovery Center

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM – The Jefferson County Department of Health will receive $300,000 from the Department of Justice to help support a resource recovery center in Birmingham, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and Jefferson County Health Officer Mark E. Wilson.

The money is part of $58.8 million in grants the Justice Department announced last week aimed at strengthening drug court programs and addressing the nationwide opioid epidemic.

The $300,000 to Jefferson County comes from $24 million of the overall $59 million that was awarded to 50 cities, counties and public health departments to provide financial and technical assistance to state, local and tribal governments to create comprehensive diversion and alternatives to incarceration programs for those impacted by the opioid epidemic, according to the Justice Department’s announcement.

These funds, awarded under the Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program, also included funds from the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. This program helps regulatory, law enforcement, and public health agencies address prescription drug and opioid misuse; reduce crime, and save lives. The National Institute of Justice will award an additional $3.1 million for research and evaluation on drugs and crime. The research priorities are heroin and other opioids and synthetic drugs.

“The exceptional leadership at OJP has recognized Birmingham's need for exactly this type of assistance and responded with action,” Town said. “This is truly a force multiplier for the Northern District and I appreciate the confidence the department has in us to produce positive results for all of our citizens.”

“The Jefferson County Department of Health is very pleased to receive this financial and technical assistance from the DOJ to enhance our ongoing efforts to prevent overdose deaths,” Wilson said. “We have enjoyed strong partnerships with law enforcement, local substance abuse treatment and social service organizations, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Without them this work would not be possible.”

The Jefferson County Department of Health had already committed to funding a Recovery Resource Center for Jefferson County, which Birmingham’s Crisis Center will manage with in-kind support from local substance abuse treatment organizations and Cooper Green Mercy Health Services. The RRC will be a place for people seeking assistance with substance abuse to receive in-person assistance with information, assessment, referral and navigation to treatment resources. The Department of Justice funding, which JCDH will receive over three years, will enhance the work of the RRC by supporting the Center’s Peer Navigation Initiative, which is being developed to help reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths within the county. One goal of this initiative, according to the grant application, is to increase access to naloxone to survivors of non-fatal overdose, individuals at risk of overdose and family and friends of those individuals. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that can reverse an overdose if administered immediately.

Other goals of the program include serving 600 survivors, at-risk individuals and their family and friends through recovery support services, providing overdose prevention education, and partnering with a researcher to develop strategies to address system gaps, monitor program performance and gauge the program’s effectiveness.

A peer navigator will be someone who has sustained recovery from opioid abuse and is knowledgeable of local treatment resources, according to the grant application. The peer navigator will work with survivors, users and their families and friends at the point of crisis, such as immediately following an overdose.

The Recovery Resource Center Peer Navigation Initiative is a collaborative effort of the Department of Health, Crisis Center, UAB Department of Emergency Medicine, Addiction Recovery Program of UAB, Fellowship House, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Emergency Management Service, Community Law Office, Northwest Alabama Methadone Clinic and UAB Substance Abuse Programs.

In 2016, nearly 60,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses, an increase from the 52,000 overdose deaths the year before, the Justice Department said in announcing the grant awards. The majority of these deaths can be attributed to opioids, including illicit fentanyl and its analogues, the Justice Department release said, noting that the country’s opioid epidemic is a public health crisis and a growing public safety crisis.

 Along with the Justice Department’s $24 million awarded under OJP’s Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program, the department also is awarding more than $22.2 million to 53 jurisdictions to support the implementation and enhancement of adult drug courts and Veterans Treatment Courts. These diversionary courts serve as “one-stop-shops” to link veterans with services, benefits and program providers, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Service Organizations and volunteer veteran mentors.

Specific sites and funds awarded can be found online at:

The department is also awarding more than $9.5 million under several Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention grant programs, including the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Grant Program and the Family Drug Court Statewide System Reform Implementation Program. These programs help jurisdictions build effective family drug treatment courts and ensure current juvenile drug treatment courts follow established guidelines.

Specific sites and funds awarded can be found online at:

Finally, read more about the importance of these programs in a new blog by OJP Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson online at

The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at




Updated September 25, 2017