This morning, heroin addicts can come clean – literally and figuratively.
Earlier this week, officials announced the Brick and Manchester police departments would welcome those suffering from opiate addiction to their respective headquarters to turn over their drugs and ask for help, without the threat of criminal charges being filed. The Brick department will be staffed all day Thursday with experts who can conduct screenings and get addicts immediate help.
Since the announcement of the program – which can also be offered to addicts police officers encounter on the street – more details have emerged as to exactly how it will operate. By way of social media, some local residents wondered if taxpayers would be funding the rehabilitation and treatment options offered through the program. The answer, official say, is ‘no.’
“The beds are actually paid for by the providers themselves if there’s no insurance,” said Brick Mayor John Ducey, explaining that the two private organizations providing the services expect enough patients who have insurance will hear about the program and want to recover from their addictions, evening out the cost of providing services to those who are not insured.
“There are also forfeiture funds that may be used as well as grants,” said Ducey. “That’s why the program was started after the first of the year, because that’s when the new grant cycles work.”
Recovery services will be provided by Preferred Behavioral Health and Integrity House.
“It’s the generous commitment of Behavioral Health and Integrity House, along with Brick and Manchester PD’s pro-active community outreach that makes this all possible,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato.
Ocean County, which has experienced a crisis-level heroin and opiate addiction epidemic in recent years, is the first county in New Jersey to offer the program that helps addicts avoid criminal charges if they wish to recover.
According to Coronato, those fighting addiction, regardless of their residency, can go to Manchester Police Department each Wednesday or Brick Police Department each Thursday to seek immediate, critical help in fighting drug addiction.
“If one family member, one friend or even one stranger is saved by the program, it’s worth it,” said Ducey. “This is a program where you don’t need to have insurance. If you want to get better, if you want to rehabilitate – you need to want it – you can come here and get healthy.”