‘Blue Hart’ Help Available for Addicts on Tuesdays in Little Egg Harbor

Mar 07, 2018

The Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department is the seventh police force to join the Ocean County Prosecutor’s “Blue HART” (Heroin Addiction Recovery Treatment) program meant to stem the epidemic of addiction in Ocean County. Little Egg Harbor Township Police Chief Richard Buzby has successfully prepared his department to join Brick Township, Lacey Township, Manchester Township, Ocean Gate, Point Pleasant Borough and Stafford Township police in providing critical addiction recovery help.

Any person who voluntarily enters the participating agencies and requests help with addiction to heroin or opiates, or any substance, shall be immediately screened for potential participation in the program. Though the program is primarily designed to apply to persons who present themselves at the station, an officer who encounters a person outside the police station believing they would benefit from Blue HART also has the discretion, based upon their training and experience, to bring that individual to the police station if the person consents to the voluntary screening process. The officer/shift supervisor, upon completion of the Blue HART screening process, shall provide transportation for the participant to the designated addiction recovery provider as soon as reasonably possible.

The Blue HART program began on Jan. 9, 2017, under the name HARP (Heroin Addiction Response Program) and was the first law enforcement addiction help program in New Jersey. The program allows substance abusers to turn themselves and their product in at any of the participating police headquarters in order to receive treatment evaluation by addiction counselors without the threat of facing charges or jail.

Little Egg Harbor PD quietly began its program in mid-February but officially joined this innovative initiative on Monday, March 5. The department is collaborating with Ocean Mental Health in Manahawkin and Bayville. Presently, Lacey, Ocean Gate and Stafford PD are already aligned with Ocean Mental Health, Brick PD is partnered with Preferred Behavioral Health in Lakewood, and Manchester PD works with Integrity House in Toms River. The expansion of the program now makes help available at Ocean Gate and Lacey PDs on Monday, Little Egg Harbor, Point Pleasant Borough and Stafford PDs on Tuesday, Manchester PD on Wednesday and Brick PD on Thursday for those seeking immediate critical help in fighting drug addiction.

Blue HART is designed to go beyond Prosecutor Joseph Coronato’s initial proactive Narcan and Recovery Coach Program, to offer substantial diversion help in order to reduce the impact of heroin and opiate abuse in communities in Ocean County.

“I applaud the participating police departments’ proactive efforts and eagerness to help those in their communities fight this tragic epidemic,” said Coronato. “Since January, ‘Blue HART’ has helped over 300 individuals to successfully fight the curse of addiction. I cannot thank enough Behavioral Health, Integrity House and Ocean Mental Health for their generous commitment to the people of Ocean County in making our vision a reality. Our county leads the state in providing lifesaving options to those fighting and seeking addiction help. —P.J.



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