OCEAN COUNTY, NJ — Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced on January 28, 2020, the Blue HART program introduced by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office in 2017 has been restructured to better meet the needs of Ocean County and renamed BLUE HOPE.

BLUE HOPE services have been available since January 1, 2020, but the official relaunch under the new name will begin February 1, 2020, according to the press release. 

Prosecutor Billhimer stated:

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Heroin and opioid abuse continues to remain a top priority in Ocean County.

The changes I’m announcing today with regard to BLUE HOPE will allow law enforcement and our community partners deal more effectively with this problem.

I have long considered heroin and opioid abuse to be a public health crisis.

As such, I am pleased to announce that the Ocean County Health Department will serve as our partner in BLUE HOPE.

The Ocean County Health Department’s Department of Substance Abuse, Addiction and Opioid Dependency will serve as our partner in the administration of BLUE HOPE.

This partnership will allow us to collectively streamline programs for those with substance use disorder in Ocean County.

Our participating local police departments will continue as a first point of contact for Ocean County residents that are in need of services.

These residents can report to their participating local police department and from there be directly linked to a provider/licensed agency.

This collaboration for BLUE HOPE exemplifies the public health and law enforcement partnership needed to make change in our community.

The Ocean County Health Department has been providing substance abuse services since 1995.

"The Department of Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Opioid Dependency oversees multiple programs including the County Comprehensive Grant from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Intoxicated Driver Resource Program, the Municipal Alliances, the Ocean County Overdose Fatality Review Program as well as prevention programs,” stated Kimberly L. Reilly, MA, LPC, Chief of Administrative Services, Department of Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Opioid Dependency, Ocean County Health Department.

The press release from the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office states that BLUE HOPE is similar to the original concept in which residents with a substance use disorder can choose to use a participating local police department to get a linked to a provider/licensed agency for an evaluation.

This evaluation will help the participant assess the level of care needed and the provider/licensed agency will assist in navigating and linking the resident to treatment.

BLUE HOPE is not an automatic linkage to detox or inpatient services.

BLUE HOPE will serve as an entry point for those individuals that are in need of services and/or treatment.

BLUE HOPE participants will start with linkage to the appropriate level of treatment such as detoxification,
residential, or outpatient.

Participants will receive 12 weeks of follow-up calls from their provider/licensed agency so further guidance and support can be provided.

The participant will also have the option to voluntarily sign up for recovery case management services which would include face to face and telephone calls for support.

“BLUE HOPE is designed to be an intercept for resident to get the help they need,” Prosecutor Billhimer added.

All providers/licensed agencies will perform the evaluation, telephone calls, and offer optional recovery face to face visits with licensed staff and certified recovery case managers.

Stafford Township and Surf City are among the list of participating local police departments with their affiliated provider/licensed agency and the days and times prospective participants may access services:

BARNEGAT TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT

Tuesday 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Ocean Mental Health Services of NJ at 712 E. Bay Avenue, Manahawkin, NJ.

OCEAN TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT

Tuesday 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Ocean Mental Health Services of NJ at 712 E. Bay Avenue, Manahawkin, NJ.

“I am proud that approximately half of all of our local police departments will be BLUE HOPE police departments. I am hopeful to have every police department in Ocean County participate in BLUE HOPE by the end of 2021,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.