LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ - Sussex County was well represented by members of the Sussex County Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery Program, C.L.E.A.R, at Rider University on Friday, January 6, 2017. The Raising and Educating Drug Smart Communities or RED forum presented by City of Angels and moderated by Chasing News/NJ 101.5 Radio’s host Bill Spadea, provided a way for law enforcement to learn how collaborations with prevention, treatment and recovery professionals along with the medical community can increase opportunities for people with addiction to find recovery.
Newton Police Chief, Michael Richards and Center for Prevention and Counseling’s Recovery Support Coordinator, Katie Calvacca, spoke on a panel at the forum about the experiences in developing and implementing C.L.E.A.R., Sussex County’s police assisted addiction recovery program.
"Sussex County is leading the way in cooperative efforts locally to take meaningful action to deal with the opiate epidemic," Richards said. "We plan to continue to grow the program, increase outreach, conduct more officer training and improve access to treatment for those with substance use disorders. As we did with our participation at the RED forum, we look for opportunities to share our program with others and learn ways that we can improve the CLEAR program. It's exciting to be part of such a dedicated group of professionals, committed to making a difference in the quality of life in our community."
Also attending were Sussex County Prosecutor, Francis Koch and Center for Prevention and Counseling Executive Director, Becky Carlson. The forum provided an opportunity for participants to meet with Prosecutors from other counties, clinicians, recovery coaches and law enforcement representing similar programs from as far away as Massachusetts in order to exchange information and learn about ways to improve upon the C.L.E.A.R. Program, in Sussex County.
"It was a wonderful opportunity to have Chief Richards and Katie Calvacca be invited to the forum to share with all in attendance in regards to CLEAR," Carlson said. "This initiative was carefully developed by a group of key stakeholders in an effort to help people in Sussex County find their way to treatment. We worked to ensure it fit the needs of our county. Being able to share with others about CLEAR was a great opportunity as it helps to show others around the state an idea that is working. Additionally, all of us from Sussex County learned new ideas to utilize with our work by listening to the others from around the state. We made new contacts and learned new ideas, all which will assist us with our work up here is Sussex County. Collaboration is critical to addressing any problem and in this case, necessary."
Allie Hunter McDade, Executive Director, Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, based in Massachusetts, shared that a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine. The study concluded that the Gloucester, MA Police Department’s PAARI initiative was far more successful in placing people into detox and addiction recovery programs than hospital-based programs with similar goals. This shatters the perception that law enforcement, long trained to arrest, would be the last to help people with substance use disorders.*
The C.L.E.A.R. Program, with full support of the Sussex County Prosecutor’s office and the Police Chiefs’ Association, is working to expand and include every police department in Sussex County. For more information, go to www.clearprogram.org or find @clearprogram on Facebook. Currently, anyone in need of help for addiction can walk in to the Newton Police Department or contact The Center for Prevention and Counseling at (973)383-4787 between the hours of 8am and 5pm M-F or call the C.L.E.A.R. number at 1-844-SC-CLEAR from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. for assistance.