By: Follow Local News Staff
CAMDEN, N.J. — The Camden County Police Department has been awarded approximately $150,000 to take part in the Office of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (NJ CARES) Opioid Response Team Program (ORT).
The response team, which will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will include at least one representative from the CCPD and Camden’s Emergency Medical Services (“EMS”), as well as a Substance Abuse Recovery Advocate (“SARA”). The team will be called to assist individuals at the scene of an overdose, in a hospital following an overdose, at a police station following an opioid-related arrest, or during calls for service in which someone is under the influence of opioids. Team members trained in deescalation techniques and how to interact with individuals with opioid addiction issues will provide individuals with on-scene support, information, and/or referrals to treatment and recovery programs.
“We have learned that merely responding to an overdose is no longer sufficient, we have to address the root cause of the issue,” CCPD Chief Scott Thomson said in a statement. “To effectively combat and reduce the prevalence of drug overdoses in Camden and elsewhere, we must ensure that treatment continues beyond the initial point of contact. Having a team of experts who can refer survivors to recovery services will be a tremendous asset to the department and to those we serve.”
The municipality-focused ORT program is designed to complement the county-based Operation Helping Hand programs in which Camden County participated in June. Those programs saw officers immediately offer addiction intervention services to individuals attempting to purchase heroin and other narcotics.
“We know that the minutes and hours after an overdose, an arrest, or another drug-related crisis offer drug users an important opportunity to get the help they need to turn their lives around,” Attorney General Grewal said. “These Opioid Response Teams will be trained to spring into action at a moment’s notice, day or night, to ensure that drug users experiencing a crisis know that the door to treatment and recovery support services is always open.”
The Camden County Police Department is one of five agencies to take part in the program, joined by local departments in Newark, Paterson, Trenton, and Toms River. Each participating municipality is expected to receive $149,999.80. The funding is for a 19-month period that runs from October 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021.
For more information regarding this program, please visit https://www.nj.gov/oag/.
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