MORRISTOWN, NJ - Morris County's Hope One mobile substance abuse recovery and resource vehicle has expanded into the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative (PAARI), announced the Morris County Sheriff's Office.
The launch of PAARI and expansion of Hope One in Morris County is made possible through a $332,658 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The PAARI program recognizes that addiction is a disease, not a character flaw or a crime, and implementing PAARI in police stations throughout Morris County is a critical step in saving the lives of those suffering from this devastating disease,” Daytop - NJ President and CEO Jim Curtin said.
Expanding on its commitment to help individuals from the grip of addiction and, for some, stop the cycle of crime associated with substance abuse disorders, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office is the first law enforcement agency in Morris County to launch PAARI and the only Sheriff’s Office in New Jersey to embark on the initiative that draws municipal police departments and non-profit agencies into a partnership to help individuals fight the ravages of addiction, said county officials.
Under PAARI, Individuals seeking treatment, who self-initiate the process by going to police headquarters must surrender any drugs or paraphernalia and will not be criminally charged with possessing contraband, under a directive to police prepared by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, they stated. As participation is voluntary, the individual can elect not to continue seeking assistance.
"The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office looks forward to partnering again with the Sheriff and our municipal law enforcement partners on this life-saving initiative. As with Operation Helping Hand and Narcan 2.0, under the leadership of Attorney General Grewal, we and Morris County law enforcement agencies have sought to stem the tide of the horrific opioid and heroin epidemic. PAARI is another innovative effort by Sheriff Gannon towards preventing the needless loss of lives experienced during this plague which has engulfed many of our residents,” Prosecutor Knapp said. “Expanding upon the concept of Hope One and the addition of Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT) at our County Correctional Facility, the innovative work of the Sheriff's Office has taken the lead in New Jersey towards reducing overdose deaths and we join in this effort today and going forward."
According to authorities, individuals who walk into participating police departments and request help for their addiction will be screened, and in most cases connected with a certified peer recovery specialist who will guide the individual to treatment options and resources. Daytop-NJ, a premier substance use facility based in Mendham, is the Sheriff’s Office’s partner in providing the peer recovery specialists. Police can also use their discretion in approaching individuals they encounter on the street to determine whether they are open to meeting with a peer recovery specialist. However, the PAARI program exclusively applies to people who ask for help and cannot be used in lieu of charges or arrest, they said.
“With opioid and heroin addiction consuming the lives of family members, neighbors, classmates and friends, and often leading them to break the law to finance their addictions, we all have a stake as human beings to try to stop the scourge,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said. “Police officers who are familiar with vulnerable populations in their communities are well-suited to start the process of helping people connect with treatment services in a compassionate, non- judgmental style."
Fifty police chiefs and officers from 20 municipal police departments around Morris County participated in hour hours of instruction on their obligations under PAARI. Police chiefs and superior officers from the Butler, Mount Olive, Montville, Dover, and Morristown Police Departments are part of an advisory group that met in February to plan the PAARI launch.
“The PAARI program helps local law enforcement tremendously because it delivers certified peer recovery specialists out to meet directly with the person who is suffering from addiction, either on the street or right in our municipal police stations. As a result, we can offer real help,” said Butler Police Chief Ciro Chimento.
Police department participation in PAARI is voluntary and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office hopes to make the program available at all police departments in the future. To activate their police department’s participation in PAARI, governing bodies in the respective municipalities have to pass resolutions.
“We are delighted to be present as the Morris County Sheriff’s Office joins PAARI and launches the Hope One-PAARI Program. They are joining a growing movement of nearly 500 law enforcement agencies nationwide that are using non-arrest strategies to address the mounting opioid epidemic. As we have seen with other PAARI initiatives across the country, this program will create a pathway to treatment and recovery, which will ultimately prevent overdose deaths and improve community safety and well-being. We are grateful to all the partners involved for the dedication and leadership, and we are thrilled to have the Morris County Sheriff’s Office as partners in this important effort,” PAARI USA Executive Director Allie Hunter McDade said.