TOMS RIVER - On Friday May 19, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced that the “Heroin Addiction Response Program” (HARP) will now be known as the “Blue Hart” (Blue Heroin Addiction Recovery & Treatment) Program.
The new name also brings along Stafford Township's Police Department under the leadership of Chief Thomas Dellane. After exhaustive preparations, Chief Thomas Dellane has successfully prepared the Stafford Township Police Department to join with the Brick Township and Manchester Township Police Departments in providing critical addiction recovery help.
The “Blue HART” program, which initially began on January 9, 2017 under the name HARP was the first of its kind law enforcement addiction help program in New Jersey. The program allows substance abusers to turn themselves and their product in at any of the three participating police headquarters in order to go to addiction services providers for treatment evaluation without any threat of charges or jail.
On Tuesday, Stafford's Police Department will join this innovative initiative by collaborating with Ocean Mental Health in Manahawkin and Bayville.
Presently, Brick PD is aligned with Preferred Behavioral Health in Lakewood and Manchester PD works with Integrity House in Toms River.
The expansion of the program now makes help available at the Stafford Police Department on Tuesdays, Manchester Police Department on Wednesday or the Brick Police Departments on Thursdays to help those seeking immediate critical help in fighting drug addiction.
Blue HART is designed to go beyond the Ocean County Prosecutors Office's initial proactive Narcan and Recovery Coach Program. The goal is to offer substantial diversion help in order to reduce the impact of heroin and opiate abuse in our community.
The premise of the program is simple – any person who voluntarily enters the three participating agencies and requests help with addiction to heroin or opiates, or any substance, shall be immediately screened for potential participation in the program.
Although the program is primarily designed to apply to persons who present themselves at the station, an officer who encounters a person outside the police station believing they would benefit from Blue HART has the discretion, based upon their training and experience, to the bring an individual to the police station if the person consents to the voluntary screening process. The officer / shift supervisor, upon completion of the Blue HART screening process shall provide transportation for the participant to the designated provider as soon as reasonably possible.
Prosecutor Coronato concluded by saying, “To date, Brick and Manchester Police Departments have accounted for over 160 participants accepted into the program thanks to the generous commitment of Behavioral Health and Integrity House. Bringing the partnership of Stafford PD and Ocean Mental Health into the program is a great step in expanding options to those in Ocean County seeking addiction help.”