Pilot Program for Opioid Addiction Presented at Union County Freeholders Meeting

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

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 intends 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, hopes 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 John McGabe, Deputy Chief of Investigators for the Union County Prosecutor's Office, 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 fourteen deployments. Cranford followed with 6 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 addition 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. “74 folks came in from January to March and said ‘I need help.”

Cryan also 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


Upcoming Events

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Maple Sugar Sunday


Sun, March 18, 3:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

Crescent Concerts Presents Annual Festival of ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 18, 7:00 PM

Temple Sholom of Scotch Plains, Scotch Plains

Louis Bamberger, NJ Philanthropist & Department ...

Education Religions And Spirituality

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

2018 Union County Teen Arts Festival

March 17, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ - Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados and Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski attend the 2018 Union County Teen Arts Festival at Union County College in Cranford. The Union County Teen Arts Festival is an annual two-day celebration of the arts sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs in the Department of ...


March 17, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2018 – Despite her rhetoric, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, failed Wednesday to deliver on her promise to make schools safer for our children.

The two-term congressperson was one of only 10 representatives that voted “nay” Wednesday afternoon on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a ...

Bayonne Police: Second Teen Arrested for Recent School Threats

March 14, 2018

BAYONNE, NJ - A second teen was charged for last week's social media school shooting threats.

According to Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, police arrested a local 13-year-old for false public alarm and making terroristic threats after detectives determined the student was responsible for a SnapChat involving a Bayonne private school.

Davis said police determined the teen made a ...

Celebrando el Mes de la Historia de la Mujer

March 16, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Estimados Plainfield,

Yo fui criado por dos mujeres poderosas e generosas, y me pasaron principios y valores que me han guiado durante mi vida entera. Mi mama persiguió la oportunidad y busco una manera de proveer para su familia. Ella dejo la isla de Barbados para poder trabajar en los hogares de los Estados Unidos, creando e allanando un camino para que sus hijos lo ...

Innovador Plainfield

Estimados Plainfield,


El crecimiento requiere evolución, la evolución implica cambio, y el cambio conduce a la innovación. Plainfield está evolucionando. Nos estamos adaptando para cumplir con los requisitos del renacimiento que está formando el futuro. No podemos esperar cambio positivo y sostenible si continuamos con el mismo ritmo de las ...

Distrito escolar de Plainfield anuncia ganadores de Feria de las Ciencias

PLAINFIELD, NJ - La Oficina de Tecnología, Ciencias e Instrucción de las Escuelas Públicas de Plainfield anunció a los ganadores de la Feria de Ciencias 2018, en una recepción celebrada el jueves 1 de marzo de 2018 en la Escuela Primaria Clinton.

Veintiocho de los 178 estudiantes en grados 4-12 recibieron los máximos honores después de presentar ...

Rapps Pharmacy: What You Need To Know About The Flu

There seems to be no end in sight for the current flu season which has touched every part of the country, and right here in New Jersey.  Rapps Pharmacy, an independent, full service, and locally owned Plainfield neighborhood pharmacy, offers these tips:  

As influenza virus activity increases and is likely to continue circulating for upcoming weeks, the Centers for Disease Control ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...