Removing Barriers

Removing Barriers to Recovery: Community Partnering for Innovative Solutions to the Opioid Crisis

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Support Meetings

Support Meetings for Friends and Family

Legal barriers can interfere with treatment when people seeking recovery from addiction are revoked to jail. American jails and prisons incarcerate up to 2 million people annually and 3 to 4 million Americans are under government supervision (pre-trial release, probation, parole) each year. Our evidence suggests that approximately seventy-five percent of this population struggles with substance misuse.

By providing free online legal dispute resolution to Medicaid eligible patients, the intervention aims to support sustained treatment and increase hope among those seeking recovery. Even minor legal issues such as outstanding fines and fees can interfere with completion of treatment by spiraling into bench warrants which land people in jail. By removing legal barriers like warrants, suspended licenses, and outdated parenting time plans, we aim to help those seeking recovery get into a place where they are better positioned to participate in the labor market, return to their families and local communities, and secure housing.

This interdisciplinary community intervention partners with (7) courts, (2) non-profit treatment centers, a local tech startup, the Community Mental Health Partnership for Southeast Michigan, and the University of Michigan Law School.

Our local non-profit partners have an excellent reputation for providing comprehensive addiction treatment and a wide-range of supportive services and referrals such as transitional housing, jobs training, mental health services, family services, and public health resources.

This intervention won the 2018 INNOVATE public service pitch competition at the University of Michigan and the Judge’s Choice Award. This intervention is supported by Mcubed Interdisciplinary U-M funding and the National Science Foundation.


Local Community Sponsors:

Roos Roast Coffee

Washtenaw Dairy



August 29, 2018 New partnership allows people in recovery to resolve court cases online while in treatment


February 21, 2019 Detroit Legal News Features ODR to Remove Barriers to Recovery

February 18, 2019 Legal News-Op-Ed


March 13, 2019 Webinar: Court, Community, and Tech Partners Remove Barriers to Recovery