The Staten Island district attorney’s groundbreaking diversionary program for opioid addicts is falling short in terms of combating the opioid epidemic because it excludes defendants with certain prior convictions, say drug law reform advocates and public defenders.

Critics have raised their concerns about Staten Island’s Heroin Overdose Prevention and Education program, which was unveiled in February 2017, as district attorney’s offices in other boroughs are getting their own programs off the ground—Bronx justice system officials announced the Overdose Avoidance and Recovery program in December and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced the launch of the Collaborative Legal Engagement Assistance Response program in March.

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