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Prosecutor Francis A. Koch is pleased to announce that the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office has been awarded a grant, Public Health Crisis Response — 2018 Opioid Crisis: Operation Helping Hand Initiative, from the State of New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Department of Law & Public Safety and the Office of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (“NJ CARES”). The grant funding originally came from federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was passed through to NJ CARES by the state Department of Health. Operation Helping Hand was initially developed by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal while serving as Bergen County Prosecutor. Operation Helping Hand utilizes law enforcement officers to connect individuals with substance use disorder to vital treatment, recovery and/or support services. This grant will be led by the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office in coordination with the Sussex County C.L.E.A.R. Program, supported by the Sussex County Police Chiefs’ Association and the Center for Prevention and Counseling. Sussex County’s Operation Helping Hand will be launched on March 13, 2019. As reported in the 2019 ONDCP National Drug Control Strategy, “…most people who need treatment do not seek it.” Additionally, it was noted that only about 20% of people age 12 or older that need treatment for a substance use disorder, receive any kind of treatment, a disparity known as the “treatment gap.” The strategy indicated that, “in addition to expanding treatment capacity, there is a need to engage with those people who need treatment but, for whatever reason, are not seeking it.” Utilizing a proactive outreach approach, law enforcement officers from the Andover, Byram, Franklin, Hamburg, Hardyston, Newton, Sparta, Vernon police departments, the New Jersey State Police and the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with detectives from the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office, will address this treatment gap by initially identifying individuals with SUD. They will be working with Recovery Coaches and Navigators from the Sussex County C.L.E.A.R. Program and the Center for Prevention & Counseling to engage the identified individuals. Participants will be offered treatment options, including the availability of medication-assisted treatment, recovery support, education about SUDs and overdose prevention training.