Police & Fire

Union County Sends C.L.E.A.R. Message in Fight Against Substance Abuse, Debuts Program Centered on Amnesty, Recovery

Credits: facebook.com/countyofunion/posts

ELIZABETH, NJ - Modeled along the lines of a program first established by the Gloucester Police Department in Massachusetts -- and later adopted by the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office and Newton Police Department -- Union County has launched The Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery program, or C.L.E.A.R.

The C.L.E.A.R. program allows eligible citizens of Union County who are battling substance abuse or addiction to surrender narcotics without being arrested, and provides access to recovery services free of charge.

The newly-launched initiative is a collaboration between the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, non-profit Prevention Links, and the County Sheriff’s Office, Police Department, and Prosecutor’s Office. It is available to members of the public from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Union County Sheriff’s Office, basement level of 27 Elizabethtown Plaza in Elizabeth, and at Union County Police Department headquarters, 300 North Avenue East in Westfield.

Sign Up for E-News

Those seeking to participate in the program will be screened for eligibility by members of law enforcement and permitted to surrender illegal drugs and paraphernalia for personal use without fear of arrest, prosecution, or questioning. Those excluded from participation will include citizens with active warrants or those previously convicted of certain serious indictable offenses.

Participants will be connected with Prevention Links-trained certified recovery specialists, who will serve as personal guides and mentors for those seeking to overcome their addiction.

“This is an essential component of our mission to provide support to individuals and family members seeking assistance accessing treatment and recovery services,” said Pamela Capaci, CEO of Roselle-based Prevention Links.

The County Freeholder Board dedicated $150,000 in County funding for inpatient addiction treatment beds being provided to participants this year and also approved the use of $17,000 in Prosecutor’s Office forfeiture funds.

“There is an urgent need to get more of those who suffer from opioid addiction to help, and Operation C.L.E.A.R. is certainly a step in the right direction,” Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen said. The C.L.E.A.R. model can also be adopted by individual municipal police departments.

“For those who have been arrested and charged with drug-related crimes, Drug Court offers a path to rehabilitation. For those who suffer a medical emergency due to an overdose, there is our Union County Opioid Response Initiative, through which they are connected to addiction recovery specialists at our local hospitals. But for those who have yet to get to that point, the C.L.E.A.R. program offers a promising game plan for anyone battling addiction,” acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park said. “Through this new program, we in law enforcement can help those in need who have not yet entered the criminal justice system.”

At least 89 people died from fatal drug overdoses in Union County last year, more than any year since the start of the decade. Police departments in Union County began deploying the lifesaving overdose-reversal drug naloxone in July 2014, with more than 300 total deployments recorded to date.

“For far too long, law enforcement has approached this issue from one angle only, seeking to go after and arrest those who sell, buy, and use drugs,” Union County Sheriff Joseph P. Cryan said. “Considering the scope and depth of the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic as it exists today, both here in Union County and nationwide, it’s beyond obvious that we need to fundamentally change that attitude. We want those affected by this to be able to look to us for help.”

The following video, produced by upworthy, details the Gloucester, MA, program.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Tue, March 20, 1:30 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Age 3-K: Programs with Mrs. Wheeless

Arts & Entertainment Education


Wed, March 21, 7:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Networking and Interviewing 'IQ' Workshop

Arts & Entertainment Business & Finance Education Other

Thu, March 22, 12:00 PM

SAGE Eldercare, Summit

FREE Tax Assistance

Community Calendar

Summit Fire Department Blotter

01/01/2018 9:26 am     FD dispatched to a motor vehicle accident, car vs. pole in front of 196 GLENSIDE AVENUE.  On arrival occupant was out of the vehicle.  Summit EMS assumed patient contact. FD made notification to the power company to make repairs.  Summit PD remained on scene for traffic control and road closure until repairs were made.

01/02/2018 7:36 pm ...

Summit Police Blotter

March 12, 2018

3/3 - Daniel T. Lipkin, 20, of Millington was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia and possession of an alcoholic beverage under legal age. Mr. Lipkin was processed and released with a pending court date.

3/3 - Taurino Alday-Benitez, 28, of Summit was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. Mr. Alday-Benitez was processed and released with ...

Summit Area YMCA's Next LIVESTRONG Program Session Begins Mar. 20

March 18, 2018

A new spring session for The LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program, a 12-week cancer recovery program, will begin at the Berkeley Heights YMCA on March 20. The program is a research-based physical and wellness program in which certified Summit Area YMCA trainers work with participants to achieve their goals. LIVESTRONG  at the YMCA helps cancer survivors who find themselves in the ...

OLP Presents 'Screenagers' a Documentary on Growning Up in the Digital Age

Our Lady of Peace Church and Academy in New Providence will be hosting a special screening of the movie "Screenagers" regarding a very important topic for families and youth – “Growing up in the Digital Age.” The movie delves into the important and current topic of children and teenagers and their use of social media and digital devices. The movie is appropriate for ...

Profit from Recent Volatility with Stock Market Bargains

Markets retreated in February, the worst down month in two years. A record surge in volatility caused several ETFs designed as leveraged bets on low volatility to plunge, with at least one being forced to liquidate and hand its investors a near total loss.

The Causes of February’s Market Retreat

The initial catalyst for the sell off was inflation. The January jobs report showed ...


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!


Coffee, Tea or Fleas?

Two ducks are on a flight to Miami.  The first duck says to the second, “you flying south for the winter?”  The second duck replies, “Oh wow, a talking emotional support duck!”


Pa rum pum.


There have been a lot of news stories lately about animals traveling on airplanes.  Some are humorous, like the woman who recently tried to bring ...

Learn a Language @ Your Library

Anyone can learn a language at the Summit Free Public Library!

Did you know that the Summit Library has a subscription to Muzzy Club? Funded by a grant from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Muzzy Club is an online resource that allows Summit Library cardholders of all ages to learn a new language. Languages in Muzzy Club include British and American English, Spanish, ...