Health & Wellness

Union County Sheriff Introduces C.L.E.A.R. Program to Combat Drug Addiction

Sheriff Joseph Cryan Credits: Kathy Cryan

ELIZABETH, NJ – Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan, speaking at a recent meeting of business people, asked, “What do you think is the average age of a drug addict?”

“18 years old.”

“20 years old.”

Sign Up for E-News

The answer, 47 years old, underscores the seriousness of the current opioid epidemic in the state. It is a widespread scourge that affects all age groups and all socio-economic classes. Cryan offered the following statistics to support that claim: 25 percent of addicts are between the ages, 20 to 29; 16 percent, between 30 to 39; 25 percent, between 40 to 49; 21 percent, between 50 to 59; 9 percent, over 60; and 4 percent, 19 years old and under.  

At the meeting, Sheriff Cryan was introducing Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery, C.L.E.A.R., a program sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders in partnership with Prevention Links. It offers free recovery assistance to families and individuals wanting to recover from addiction. The participants and their families will be paired with a certified recovery specialist.

“This is a pilot program,” explained Cryan. “They can come to the Courthouse Annex with their drugs and say they are here for the C.L.E.A.R. program.”

It is an initiative that is becoming more and more essential. In Union County, the statistics tracking drug incidents have been rising at an alarming rate. Last year, at least 54 people died due to a fatal overdose in Union County, more than in any year since the start of the decade. Approximately three years ago, police departments countywide started deploying the lifesaving overdose-reversal drug naloxone, nicknamed narcan. The number of times it was given to citizens jumped from slightly more than 60 in  2015 up to more than 150 in 2016. The community with the highest narcan usage is Plainfield, then Cranford. Four  towns, Kenilworth, Rahway, Elizabeth, and Linden tie for  third.

At a recent Borough Council meeting, Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo outlined the number of times that his department used narcan to save a local resident. In late May, Scotch Plains police arrested a couple for possession of $60,000 worth of heroin.

The  C.L.E.A.R. program will be officially launched countywide June 1. Help will be available at the Union County Sheriff’s Office located within the New Annex Courthouse basement level, 2 Cherry Street, Elizabeth; or the Union County Police Department Headquarters, 300 North Avenue East, Westfield. The number is 1-855-825-3275. 


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Union County Students to 'March for Our Lives' Saturday in Union

March 19, 2018

UNION, NJ – Students from all over Union County will be walking from Burnet Middle School to Town Hall on Saturday morning, March 24, in an anti-gun violence march.

Led by steering committee chairman Colin Sumner, the march, which has the support of Senator Joseph Cryan, Moms Demand Action, Union County Chapter, and the Union County Freeholders, is not aimed at taking away guns, but ...

The Day After

Some years ago, the United Nations held the International Summit on Sustainable Development, here in Johannesburg. The Summit was a great success. One wonders, though, whether all the wonderful decisions and resolutions that were adopted were ever implemented. In other words, were they themselves sustainable?

Good ideas and worthwhile projects are suggested regularly. The question is, do they ...

The Role of Meal Replacements in Weight Loss

March 20, 2018

Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and in other developed and developing countries. The prevalence of obesity is increasing not only in adults, but also in children and adolescents. We all know that obesity is a significant risk factor for various chronic illnesses, most importantly heart disease and diabetes, but also cancer and osteoarthritis, liver and kidney disease, ...

Christopher Dean Band to Play at Westfield Memorial Library

March 20, 2018

The Christopher Dean Band will play at the Westfield Memorial Library on Wednesday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m. The library is located at 550 East Broad Street.

The Christopher Dean Band is a regional blues/soul band based out of the Central New Jersey area, working up and down the East coast year round. Christopher Dean fronts the group, playing guitar and singing lead vocals.

Dean, who was ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, March 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Sun, March 25, 7:00 PM

Temple Sholom, Scotch Plains

The Displaced Persons Camp Experience

Religions And Spirituality


Tue, March 27, 7:30 PM

Temple Emanu-El , Westfield

Intergenerational Holocaust Event at Temple ...