Taking Hope on the Road in Morris County

Taking Hope on the Road in Morris CountyThe Morris County Sheriff’s Office Community Services Unit, in partnership with the Morris County Department of Human Services, the Mental Health Association of Morris County, Morris County Prevention is Key and their Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES), announces the launch of Hope One, which will take place on Monday, April 3rd from 9am – 2pm at the Morristown Green. Hope One, a mobile recovery access center, will travel to different locations throughout Morris County twice a week providing critical support for those individuals who are struggling with addiction, with the goal of preventing drug overdoses and ultimately deaths in Morris County. The Hope One mobile recovery access center will be equipped with various resources and pre-established connections to critical services including treatment, recovery support, behavioral health and much more.

The addiction treatment and recovery specialists who will staff the Hope One mobile recovery access center will include a licensed clinician and a certified peer recovery specialist.   These individuals understand the needs of those who suffer from addiction and they will be best equipped to deal one on one with members of our communities. Hope One staff will have pre-established services and available beds for potential clients. The team will be equipped to connect the client with the appropriate services and/or facility and arrange for immediate transportation.

Sheriff James M. Gannon stated, “This is about getting those struggling with addiction off the street, and immediately connected with services, with the goal of returning them to be productive members of society and drug free. What makes this program unique is that the Hope One mobile recovery access center services are client driven. We travel to the client; they do not come to us. In addition, we are removing many of the barriers, which often times prevent our people, as well as family members, the ability to get the necessary help and into rehab. It is all about Hope”.

Hope One is being paid for by money seized from Morris County drug dealers through the Drug Forfeiture program. The number of opioid related deaths are up considerably this year as compared to this same time in 2016. In addition, during the first quarter of 2017, Naloxone (Narcan) was administered by the police in Morris County 45 times, compared to 122 times in the calendar year of 2016.  CARES will be offering free Narcan kits and training to the public on the Hope One vehicle.  “This is a problem that affects everyone. Although Narcan is a wonderful antidote, it only gives the client a ‘second chance’. It is now up to the client to seek services for their addiction.  The Hope One Team is prepared to walk with our clients into recovery,” commented Sheriff James M. Gannon.  

Another aspect to the program is acknowledging the direct connection between addiction and mental health. Hope One adopts the county’s “stigma free” initiative.  The Morris County Stigma-Free Communities Initiative is a countywide program, which aims to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use disorders. The Morris County Sheriff’s Office joins the Morris County Department of Human Services, as well as the Morris County Mental Health community, in its commitment to raising awareness of these illnesses by creating an environment where affected individuals are supported in their efforts to achieve wellness and recovery.

Hope One is truly a unique partnership between law enforcement and the addiction and mental health communities in truly addressing the deadly problem of drug abuse in our community.  We are looking forward to serving people where they are: on the streets, in shelters, in motels, and in other places where people are drinking and drugging.  By engaging so many community stakeholders in this initiative, we truly believe we will save lives,” said Louis A. Schwarz, President and CEO of the Mental Health Association of Morris County.

Rockaway Borough Police Chief Doug Scheer said, “Times are changing in the world today and with many facing addiction issues we must rise to meet the challenges.  We can argue that addicts commit crimes to support their habits and in the wake of doing so destroy lives in the process. Rockaway Borough experienced several overdose deaths in a short period of time, which rocked our small community.  This was a revelation to our agency and the community as a whole.  I had the honor to watch our community come together by supporting one another in their times of need.  The Police cannot solely be looked at as an enforcement agency and change how we interact with those in need.  I believe that if we can change the life of an addict then we can change the path of those they will come in contact with.  To do nothing is easy, but to try your hardest and challenge yourself to be a better person each day may just help someone and that is an obligation we have.  Hope One can bring about that change by meeting the problem head on from a different angle.”

Morris County Freeholder Doug Cabana said, “I am both extremely proud and equally excited of the Freeholder Board’s commitment to the Hope One Mobile Outreach initiative.

This unique program, inspired by Sheriff James M. Gannon, is a partnership between Morris County Law Enforcement, County and Municipal Governments, along with our dedicated community-based treatment providers, who will be working together to address the Opioid epidemic that continues to devastate our community.”

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp said, “The cost in human lives has been devastating due to the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic.  The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office has been at the forefront educating the public as well as employing traditional law enforcement efforts with our municipal, county, state and federal partners in battling this scourge. We must now, even more importantly focus our efforts on destigmatizing addiction and providing treatment for those plagued by this disease. The recovery coach program we are embarking upon is focused on that urgent need.  The efforts of Sheriff Gannon are commendable in this unique approach battling addiction.  We sincerely hope that this initiative will be a great success.”

Morris County Director of Human Services, Jennifer Carpinteri said, “This brand new approach delivers services in a unique way, blending law enforcement and social services to bring Hope into communities.  The goal of the Hope One Mobile Outreach initiative is to engage with at risk individuals, meeting them where they are to offer linkage to services and treatment in an effort to combat the ever growing opiate and addiction epidemic.”

Peer Recovery Specialist Alton Robinson said, “This is a win-win for all involved.  Never in Morris County has there been such an innovative initiative to give individuals the opportunity to be heard and have access to services they otherwise would not have had.  We are offering individuals HOPE!”

“By connecting with numerous resources, the Hope One mobile recovery access center will be available to the public to educate, refer people to treatment and empower our citizens to take control of their lives and return those addicted as productive members of society. Hope One welcomes anyone affected by addiction and behavioral health to look out for the truck. The folks requiring services will be brought to a treatment facility or program, and not jail. We’re here for you,” stated Sheriff James M. Gannon.

For further information on CARES, contact 973-625-1143 or facebook.com/caresnj.