NEWTON, NJ—The Newton Police Department received a $10,000 grant for community policing programs.  The attorney general awarded a total of $219,000 to 28 police departments across New Jersey in honor of Summit Detective Matthew L Tarentino, There were 138 applicants for the grant money, according to the attorney general’s office.

“The Newton Police Department will utilize this funding to implement the #NotEvenOnce opiate awareness program for the junior and senior classes at Newton High School, which serves students from three communities – the Town of Newton, Green Township and Andover Township,” Newton Police Chief Michael Richards said.

The #NotEvenOnce program is a new interactive high school opiate awareness program that was recently developed by the Manchester Police Department in Ocean County.

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According to their website, the interactive course is taught by police officers and is “a collaborative effort between law enforcement and educators with the goal of informing students about the dangers of opiates before they leave for college or enter the work force.”  The program meets the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for health classes.

According to Richards, since heroin is highly addictive, it often only takes one time for someone to begin a battle with heroin or opiate addiction that often leads to other significant health issues and even death.  Addiction is also commonly associated with increased criminal activity.

Two Newton Police Officers, DSG. Steve VanNieuwland and Det. Thomas Tosti, were recently trained in the #NotEvenOnce program, according to Richards.

“During their training, they learned how to best educate students about the devastating addictiveness of opiate use and where it could lead for them,” Richards said. “The program will also provide students with the tools to make better decisions when dealing with opiate use and peer pressure.”

The #NotEvenOnce prevention education program is consistent with and helps promote the mission of the Sussex County C.L.E.A.R. program, according to Richards. The information discussing the CLEAR program will be reviewed within the classes and, according to Richards, there are even plans to have a CLEAR Recovery Coach be a guest speaker during part of the #NotEvenOnce lesson plan.

According to their mission statement, the Sussex County C.L.E.A.R. program’s mission is to “form a collaborative network of professionals in our community who will facilitate medical intervention, improved access to treatment and recovery support for those struggling with drug addiction who seek assistance, without fear of arrest or prosecution, in order to make a positive difference in the quality of life for individuals, families and our entire community.”

The #NotEvenOnce program will work together with the C.L.E.A.R. Program and the L.E.A.D. or Law Enforcement Against Drugs program taught to middle school students.

“We are looking forward to working with school officials with this program and we aim to give students the best chance to avoid the pitfalls of drug addiction so they can lead healthy, successful lives, contributing to the overall quality of life in our community,” Richards said.

Additional information on the #NotEvenOnce program, C.L.E.A.R. Program and the L.E.A.D. program, is available on their websites by clicking on the highlighted words.