Government

Pilot Program for Opioid Addiction Presented at Union County Freeholders Meeting

cff3438e4a950cb29245_68e769368dc0156df129_IMG_7256.JPG
Public Safety Director Andrew Moran speaking before the Board. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
cff3438e4a950cb29245_68e769368dc0156df129_IMG_7256.JPG

ELIZABETH, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders listened to a presentation by the Union County Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery pilot program (C.L.E.A.R.) during Thursday night’s agenda setting meeting. The program is intended to combat the opioid epidemic in Union County by providing addicts and their family members with easier access to treatment facilities and recovery programs.

C.L.E.A.R, presented by Sheriff Joseph Cryan, Prosecutor Grace Park, Public Safety Director Andrew Moran and Human Services Director Frank Guzzo, is hoped to help those with addiction before they overdose or get arrested.

“In this county, we had 55 overdoses last year,” Park said. “If you’re overdosing and are revived by Narcan [a drug used to block opioid receptors in the brain during an overdose], you have a recovery addiction specialist. If you’re in the criminal justice system and are arrested for a crime, you have Drug Court [a team of specialists designed to monitor a participant’s recovery]. If you’re out in the community and just want help, there’s really no resource. So that’s where C.L.E.A.R. comes in.”

Sign Up for E-News

According to acting Union County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives John McCabe, there have been 23 deaths by overdose in the county as of March 2017. Elizabeth, Union and Springfield have seen six overdoses each. Plainfield and Rahway have seen two overdoses each, and Kenilworth has had one.

However, according to data by Narcan, Plainfield has seen the most Narcan deployments in 2017 with 14 deployments. Cranford followed with six deployments, and Rahway and Linden had four deployments each.

“We’re hoping that we get approval for about $17,000 to enable this pilot program, which we believe will fund about 135 responses to the sheriff’s office,” Park said.

The program plans to receive addicts and bring recovery specialists to them at locations in Westfield and Elizabeth, according to Moran. The specialists will place addicts in the appropriate treatment center, whether it’s a detox program, outpatient rehabilitation or inpatient rehabilitation.

 Officers from the county and the county sheriff’s office plan to hold a training session for the program on May 10 in Westfield and start the program on June 1, Moran said.

“This pilot program was implemented in Brick and Ocean County this year for two days a week,” Cryan said. “Seventy-four folks came in from January to March and said ‘I need help.”

Cryan added that the program has received support from Overlook Medical Center and Trinitas Regional Medical Center, and is currently working with JFK Medical Center.

Freeholder Christoper Hudak received the presentation with enthusiasm, calling it a “great, logical step.” Freeholder Linda Carter was not as happy with the current plans, claiming that Westfield and Elizabeth are not adequate locations.

“When you look at these numbers, it shows Plainfield has a higher amount [of overdoses],” Carter said. “When individuals have to go from one location to two or three towns over, they can change their mind, because of the state of mind they’re in at that point. I would like to see something closer to the Plainfield area.”

Carter also asked about education programs, particularly for county high schools.

“We will have somebody at the beginning of the school year, trained to provide presentations,” Cryan said.

Park also added that she plans to provide middle schools and high schools with tools to educate, particularly a documentary called “Chasing the Dragon,” which features opioid and prescription drug addicts who show how addiction has affected their lives.

“This is a problem in 21 municipalities and spreading like fire,” Freeholder Hudak said. “I sit here today saying that I hope you see great success with this pilot.”

The Union County Freeholders will hold a regular meeting on May 18 at 7 p.m.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Clark

Upcoming Events

Thu, June 21, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Mid-Week Worship & Service

Thu, June 28, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Mid-Week Worship & Service

Carousel_image_5215384026d55e2b196a_flour

Thu, June 28, 7:00 PM

Scotch Plains

Learn about Fluorescent Minerals at the Scotch ...

Reminder: Free Electronics Recycling for Union County Residents, June 30

June 14, 2018

Union County is offering a free electronics recycling event on Saturday, June 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools campus, 1776 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains.

Any Union County resident may bring unwanted televisions, computers, printers, and other electronic equipment to this e-cycling site. There is a limit of six items per ...

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

June 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

Benefits and Potential Pitfalls of 529 College Saving Plans

Do you know the benefits and potential pitfalls of 529 College Saving Plans? Do you know when to use them?  Take a listen to Chris Curran's video below as he gives and overview of them and don't forget to check out his book College Funding Secrets.  

 

 

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 8, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...

Obituaries

Jun 29, 1927 - Apr 23, 2018
Margaret (Peggy) Kirk Leonard passed away Monday, April 23rd, surrounded by her loved ones. Peggy ...
Read more