SOMERVILLE, N.J. – The Somerset County Prosecutor's Office has joined with other law enforcement agencies and community partners in Phase II of Operation Helping Hand, a broad-based effort to combat substance on the streets and door-to-door, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Joining in the effort are Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, Somerset County Sheriff Darrin J. Russo, Somerville Chief of Police Dennis Manning, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, and Director Sharon M. Joyce, Office of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (NJ CARES).

Last week members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office along with members of the Recovery Support Specialists from Reach for Recovery (R4R) Program, Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center, conducted a door-to-door outreach of known Somerset County residents with substance use disorders. The goal during each encounter was to have the Recovery Support Specialists engage residents in need providing on-the-spot referrals to treatment and other resources.

Sign Up for Somerville Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The team facilitated one-to-one contact with 27 households establishing 21 positive connections to residents and/or their families. Ultimately 13 residents agreed to enter into a treatment service and start the recovery journey on-the-spot. With only three denials of the services offered, Somerset County believes phase two was a huge success and looks forward to expanding the second phase of the Operation Helping Hand initiative, according to Robertson.

The effort continues Monday, Aug. 31, which is International Overdose Awareness Day.

Helping Hand, and its community partners from the Somerset County Department of Human Services, Reach for Recovery (R4R) Program – Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center, as well as representatives from Community in Crisis in Bernardsville, will be engaging with the public on Main Street in Somerville throughout the day.

"Educating our residents that overdose is preventable and talking about overdose can save lives is our top priority," Robertson said.

National Recovery Month is observed every September to promote and support treatment and recovery services across the nation. Robertson said he is committed to educating Somerset County residents about addiction, treatment and highlighting those who are making strides toward their recovery journey.

Throughout the month of September, Operation Helping Hand and its community partners will seek out stories of hope and recovery from the community allowing them to share and inspire others, according to Robertson.

Anyone in need of these professional services is encouraged to contact the Reach for Recovery (R4R) Program at the Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center, (Recovery Support Specialists) at (908) 253-3119 and mention the Operation Helping Hand program or the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Helping Hand coordinator at (908) 231-7100 or make a report via the STOPit app.

The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ.

Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.