Pubdate: Thu, 12 Jan 2017
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2017 Asbury Park Press


The program launched by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office provides
rehabilitation to those without insurance.

Heroin and fentanyl deaths are rising in Ocean County.(Photo: Getty

Anyone suffering from addiction can now drop into two police departments
in Ocean County and get treatment, whether they have insurance or not,
officials announced Monday morning.

The program also allows addicts to turn in their drugs without fear of
being prosecuted, Al Della Fave, the spokesman for the Ocean County
Prosecutor's Office said. The office is spearheading the program known as
the Heroin Addiction Response Program.

The pilot program is being offered two days a week, Wednesday at the
Manchester Police Department and Thursday at the Brick Police Department.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said the program is an attempt to
get more people into treatment by reversing the well-set model of arrest
and incarceration for drug addicts.

"It is my mandate that Ocean County Law Enforcement treat all those
suffering from addiction with compassion, care, and concern while
providing resources to assist in their recovery," he said.

Candidates will be screened first to to see if they are appropriate for
treatment, Coronato said.

Handling the people in need of treatment is New Jersey Addiction Triage
Center, a nonprofit organization incorporated at the end of last year and
backed by Malvern Institute, a rehabilitation center in Pennsylvania.

The Triage Center also works with the Prosecutor's Offices in Monmouth and
Ocean counties on a new diversion program that steers arrestees with
addictions into treatment. It coordinates with rehabilitation clinics to
take in patients whether they have insurance or not. Treatment centers
agree to take on patients without insurance in exchange for other patients
that come through the diversion programs that do have insurance, officials

(Photo: Asbury Park Press file)

The two dozen recovery coaches expected to work for the program will be
contractors with Malvern. The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office plans to
use money forfeited from drug busts to fund some of their training as it
has already done.

The program sends participants to two New Jersey treatment facilities, the
Ocean County-based Preferred Behavioral Health Group and Integrity House,
based in North Jersey with a facility in Toms River. But out-of-state
facilities in Florida and Texas and Malvern will also be taking in
patients, officials said.

Anyone can take part in the program regardless of residency, Della Fave said.

They can be from out of county, even out of state, he said.

The program came two weeks after The New England Journal of Medicine
published a report on a similar program in Gloucester, Massachusetts
called the Angel Initiative, a model for many others across the country.
The article mentioned that from 2009 through 2013, only 21% of people with
an opioid use disorder in the United States received any type of

The Angel Initiative, started in June 2015, has taken in 520 people since
then, many from out of the area and some from out of state, said John
Rosenthal, co-founder of the Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery
Initiative, an organization that grew out of the Gloucester project.

Rosenthal said that Gloucester has seen a 30 percent reduction in crime
associated with addiction, such as burglaries and shoplifting.

Gloucester is now tracking the progress of patients, something only a
handful of other departments among PAARI's 200 members around the country
are now rolling out. A program in Macomb County, Michigan is just getting
underway. Another in Manchester, Connecticut recently launched, he said.

"Everybody else is in various stages," Rosenthal said.

Police department-based programs to help addicts "are taking off like
wildfire," Rosenthal said.

Tracking patients is a cornerstone of Ocean County's HARP program,
Coronato said.

"We have to see what programs are effective," he said.
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