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The SHIELD training model’s core curriculum has been extensively evaluated. It has been found to be effective in boosting officer attitudes and intentions about using best practices that deliver multiple benefits:

  • Improving public safety by reducing addiction and drug-related crime in the community.

  • Increasing officer wellbeing and retention by reducing stress, improving police morale, occupational safety, and job satisfaction, while also facilitating community level collaboration.

  • Current adaptations include prosecution, public defense, and probation, with more planned. All trainings provide continuing education credits.

  • The new curricula are evidence-based, and developed by legal, health, and educational experts at Northeastern University School of Law and the University of California-San Diego. They are based upon consultations with personnel, qualitative interviews, and pilot trainings, as well as familiarity with the existing research base.


In early 2024, we received support from NIH/NIDA for the next phase of our research developing the SHIELD model. This “SHIELD 2.0” study is designed to better understand the relationship between the behavioral health workforce (substance use treatment, harm reduction, and other professionals) and law enforcement. This project will build and test interventions that equip the behavioral health workforce to more effectively interface with law enforcement. Our goal is to reduce the number of adverse encounters between police and program staff and clients, optimize the public health and public safety benefits of harm reduction and substance use treatment services, and improve outcomes for program staff and clients, police, and the communities they serve.

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