UNION COUNTY, NJ – Union County is taking steps to help its residents receive treatment for substance abuse, including by continuing substance abuse treatment for inmates at the Union County Jail.

The county saw a total 3,365 admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities in 2016, with 2,581 Union County residents seeking treatment for substance abuse at least once, according to county data.

The number of treatments sought for each substance are as follows:

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  • Heroin 1,261 38%
  • Alcohol 1,101 33%
  • Marijuana 604 18%
  • Cocaine 183 5%
  • Other Opiates 116 3%
  • Other Drugs 94 3%

Several county initiatives address opioid abuse. 

The county is partnered with The GEO Group, a rehabilitation services community in Boca Raton, Florida, to provide Inmate Substance Abuse Treatment and Residential Correctional Facility services for Union County Jail inmates. The county averages 86 people going through this program per day, Department of Corrections Director Ronald Charles said at Thursday night’s freeholders' meeting.

Charles asked the board to extend a 2016 contract between the county and the company for six additional months, from July 1 to Dec. 31. This extension would cost the county $1.25 million, as noted on the freeholder meeting agenda.

“The GEO Group is committed to providing leading, evidence-based rehabilitation programs to individuals while in-custody and post-release into the community,” according to the company’s website.

Meanwhile, county programs including Operation Helping Hand and the CLEAR Program, are designed to reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic. These and other programs were detailed in a county presentation in May. In 2018, 133 Union County residents died of an opioid overdose, according to county data.