MORRISTOWN, NJ - A new initiative has taken place for individuals who have been arrested for drug offenses in Madison and throughout Morris County.
The initiative, Operation Helping Hand, offers substance abuse treatment to those arrested for possessory drug offenses. During the summer of 2018, Prosecutor's Offices from five counties, including Morris County, participated in a statewide phase of Operation Helping Hand. Morris County instituted its own OHH program in 2019.
During the first phase of the Morris County Operation Helping Hand, Morris County law enforcement made 45 arrests, four of which included charges for possession of controlled dangerous substances with the intent to distribute, stated officials. Of the 35 individuals deemed eligible for Operation Helping Hand Services, 27—or 80% of them, accepted treatment, they said. The operation also resulted in the seizure of over 1,000 folds of heroin, more than two ounces of cocaine, and more than two pounds of THC-related substances, including marijuana, hashish, and vape pens and cartridges.
The next phase of the program has begun and will continue through August 2020. According to the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, if an individual is arrested for a controlled dangerous substance offense during an OHH operation, they will be offered the opportunity to avail themselves of recovery resources. If accepted, the individuals will be referred to a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist from the Center for Addiction, Recovery Education and Success (CARES).
“This program is all about saving lives. It is about getting people into treatment where they will hopefully take advantage of the resources offered to them to combat the illness of addiction", said Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp.