Five Ocean County Police Departments Now Participating in ‘Blue HART’ Program

Aug 07, 2017

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced the “Blue HART” (Heroin Addiction Recovery Treatment) program continues to grow in Ocean County by adding two partners to the participating police departments. Lacey Township Police Chief Michael DiBella and Ocean Gate Police Officer in Charge Lt. Michael Kuchta have successfully prepared their departments to join Stafford Township, Brick Township and Manchester Township police in providing critical addiction recovery help.

The program allows substance abusers to turn themselves and their product in at any of the participating police headquarters in order to go to addiction services providers for treatment evaluation without any threat of charges or jail.

Coronato said Blue HART is designed to go beyond his office’s initial proactive Narcan and Recovery Coach Program measures to offer substantial diversion help in order to reduce the impact of heroin and opiate abuse in our communities.

“The premise of the program is simple – any person who voluntarily enters the three (now five) participating agencies and requests help with addiction to heroin or opiates, or any substance, shall be immediately screened for potential participation in the program,” he said.

Though the program is primarily designed to apply to persons who present themselves at the station, officers who encounter a person outside the police station believing they would benefit from Blue HART have the discretion, based upon their training and experience, to bring an individual to the 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 provider as soon as reasonably possible.

“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 200 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.” —E.E.

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