SOMERVILLE, NJ - North Plainfield Chief of Police and GOP candidate for Sheriff William “Bill” Parenti is announcing a partnership with current Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano to bring a new approach to combat the opioid epidemic to Somerset County.

According to Parenti, the Rhode Island Corrections (RIC) initiated approach will use Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), which, according to researchers, significantly reduces mortality and recidivism rates amongst those suffering from addiction post-incarceration.

“Sheriff Provenzano and I have determined that the complex epidemic ravaging our communities requires thoughtful and outside-the-box solutions. Due to criminal justice reform in 2017, which expedited the bail and pre-release process, individuals are more likely to be released prior to or while experiencing the onset of opioid withdrawal symptoms. This only increases the risks for a potential overdose,” said Parenti.

Sign Up for Basking Ridge Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

“However, as scientific studies and statistics show, MAT treatment being introduced pre-release increases the likelihood of recovery post-release and can help mitigate the concerns raised by short-term jail stays,” he added.

Under the Criminal Justice Reform Act, individuals are often released back into their communities with 24 to 48 hours, which has raised concerns amongst the County’s wardens.

“After meeting and holding a compassionate conversation with Chief Parenti, I have instructed my staff to seek and apply for grant funding to support his proposed MAT program,” said Provenzano. “The program will reduce staffing burdens, save taxpayers money, and most importantly, work towards combatting and reducing recidivism rates amongst those caught in the cycle of addiction.”

“The ultimate goal is to give these individuals a second chance to live their lives. As law enforcement, we owe this to both them and their families,” Parenti concluded.

Chief Bill Parenti’s experience and his unique relationships with the County Sheriff, County Prosecutor, and state and federal leaders make him Ready on Day One to get things done.