Health & Wellness

Press Releases

Evidence Shows that Everyone Benefits from Helping Those with Drug Addiction


Our community, like the rest of our state and country, is in the midst of an opioid use epidemic. In 2016, the Sussex County area had 32 overdose deaths due to heroin, prescription medications and other drugs, up 28% since the previous year. Additionally, there were 52 overdoses where Narcan was administered by law enforcement officers in an attempt to revive a person, an 18% increase in its use since 2015.

Substance use impacts the community on multiple levels and recovery is a solution that benefits everyone. The Sussex County C.L.E.A.R. initiative is a collaboration with many key stakeholders that have worked together to make a difference in our county. The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office, Sussex County Police Chiefs’ Association, Newton Police Department, Atlantic Health’s Newton Medical Center, Center for Prevention and Counseling, County of Sussex along with C.L.E.A.R volunteer recovery coaches and a group of treatment providers have made an idea a reality where individuals and families are being assisted in accessing treatment and finding a path to recovery.

Leading the way in local recovery efforts, the Sussex County C.L.E.A.R. Program offers improved access to treatment and free recovery coaching services to individuals and families or loved ones affected by a substance use disorder. New Jersey recently passed bill A-3744/S-2330 establishing law enforcement assisted addiction and recovery referral programs, validating the C.L.E.A.R. program approach. 

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Furthermore, this new, proactive and collaborative approach between public safety and public health professionals has proven successful in similar programs across the nation; assisting people in accessing treatment and recovery support and reducing criminal activity related to substance use. A study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative (PAARI) of Gloucester, MA 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.

Since launching the C.L.E.A.R. program in Sussex County on July 18, 2016, over 75 people have called the C.L.E.A.R. hotline for information and/or assistance and 37 people affected by substance use disorders have engaged in recovery coaching services with volunteer CCAR certified Recovery Coaches. Additionally, of the 22 who have walked into the Newton Police Department or called the toll-free number, 18 of those people have accessed treatment.


Plans are currently underway to expand the C.L.E.A.R. program to reach even more people in need.  Additional points of access will be available at other Police Departments and more Officers and Recovery Coaches will be trained to help people seeking assistance for addiction. As the program continues to grow and help new people, the need for funding has become more apparent.  From printing outreach materials to transportation costs, community contributions can help make the C.L.E.A.R. program even more effective.  Please visit to learn more about how you can contribute.


In an effort to spread the word about C.L.E.A.R., a short video about the program was created and developed by staff at the Center for Prevention and Counseling (CFPC.) Newton Police Chief Michael Richards is featured in the PSA along with Newton Police Detective Joe D’Annibale, Recovery Coach Kelly LeBar and CFPC’s Recovery Support Coordinator Katie Calvacca.  The PSA is available to be viewed at  Community members are encouraged to share this PSA with others in an effort to spread the word about C.L.E.A.R. 


Those seeking assistance can call 1-844-SC-CLEAR or come to the Newton Police Department on Trinity St. between the hours of 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

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Sparta Police: Traffic Stop Ends with Weed Arrest

March 22, 2018

SPARTA, NJ-  A man from Monroe, stopped for having an expired registration for his red four door Chevrolet ended up facing drug charges.  On March 17 around 2:13 p.m. Sparta Cpl. Dan Elig pulled over Mark Kern, 25, police report.

When the officer spoke with Kern he smelled burnt marijuana.  Kern admitted to Elig there was a half smoked marijuana cigarette in the car, which he ...

Sparta Police Scoop Up Three on Outstanding Warrants

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta Police Officers have picked up three people on outstanding warrants recently in unrelated traffic stops.

On March 20, around 7:30 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Erick Finley stopped 25-year-old Newark resident Crystal Dejesus for a broken tail light on her silver Toyota.  Finley found Dejesus had an outstanding warrant from Alpine Municipal Court, police ...

Sparta Police: Car Crash Leads to Warrant Arrest

SPARTA, NJ –  A car going too fast for the snowy road conditions crashed on Route 15.  No one was injured in the one car crash but the driver, Melvin Pineda-Castro of Plainfield, 27, was taken into custody.  On March 13 around 6:30 a.m. Sparta Police Officer Ben Griffin arrived at the scene, according to police.

Pineda-Castro had lost control of his black Honda CRV, hit ...

Mis-management At Presby Threatens the Future of the Garden

March 22, 2018

Dear Editor,

It is with concern that I bring this subject to the attention to all who care and treasure the Presby Memorial Iris Garden, which along with the cherry trees of Branch Brook Park is one of the crown jewels of the Essex County Park System.  This historic garden founded 90 years ago by Frank Presby on  Upper Mt. Ave. is known internationally for its collection which ...


March 11, 2018



Republican Freeholder Candidates, Dawn Fantasia and Josh Hertzberg commended the District 24 Legislators for taking action in the wake of the horrific school shooting that took the lives of 17 at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.   


Senator Oroho, Assemblyman Space and ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, March 24, 9:30 AM

Sparta Recreation Department, Sparta

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, March 24, 6:00 PM

McKenna Hall, Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Sparta

Night with NJ Giants #53 Harry Carson Beefsteak


Sat, March 24, 6:00 PM

Perona Farms, Sparta

Trout Unlimited Annual Fund Raising Banquet

Arts & Entertainment


Tue, March 27, 7:30 PM

Council Chambers, Sparta

Sparta Township Council Meeting



Sat, March 31, 10:30 AM

Dykstra Park, Sparta

NEW DATE - UNICO Easter Egg Hunt

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, April 8, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Fri, April 13, 5:00 PM

Sparta High School Auditorium, Sparta

2nd Annual Jazz Festival at Sparta High School

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, April 14, 9:00 AM


Jr Lions Football - Meet & Greet

Education Sports

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Newton Police: Third Pedestrian Struck By Motor Vehicle this Year

March 23, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—A Hamburg woman is the third pedestrian to be hit by a car in Newton this year.  Newton Police department responded to the accident at the intersection of Spring Street and Madison Street on Friday, March 9 around 12:33 p.m. police say. 

Police found Michele Krasnomowitz, 50, sitting near the marked crosswalk on Madison Street being assisted by witnesses. Matthew ...

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Employ a large area rug that covers the entire room to help absorb sound and enhance comfort.

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Prices Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.  The bottom in home prices came and left. Home values will ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


The Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders March 14 2018 meeting video

NEWTON, NJ - The Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders March 14 2018 meeting video.


Sparta Education Foundation Funds Two New Grants

March 23, 2018

SPARTA, N.J.—Two new grants totaling over $3,077.00 were approved during the Sparta Education Foundation’s February Board Meeting held at the Mohawk Avenue School. This round of grants will enrich the educational experience for students at Mohawk Avenue School and Sparta High School.

“These new grants support a wide spectrum of creative learning,” said Sparta Education ...