Somerset County Operation Helping Hand - International Overdose Awareness Day - August 31, 2020
Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, Somerset County Sheriff Darrin J. Russo, Somerville Chief of Police Dennis Manning, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, and the Office of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (NJ CARES) Director Sharon M. Joyce announced the commencement of phase two of Somerset County’s Operation Help Hand Initiative.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that on Saturday, August 22, 2020, members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office along with members of the Recovery Support Specialists from Reach for Recovery (R4R) Program, Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center, conducted a door-to-door outreach of known Somerset County residents with substance use disorders. It should be noted that all engaged adhered to social distancing, as well as health and safety protocols. The goal during each encounter was to have the Recovery Support Specialists engage residents in need providing on-the-spot referrals to treatment and other resources.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that during the operation the team facilitated one-to-one contact with 27 households establishing 21 positive connections to residents and/or their families. Ultimately 13 residents agreed to enter into a treatment service and start the recovery journey on-the-spot. With only three denials of the services offered, Somerset County believes phase two was a huge success and looks forward to expanding the second phase of the Operation Helping Hand initiative.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that on Monday, August 31, 2020, is International Overdose Awareness Day. In recognition of this day and the many lives lost from overdose, Somerset County Operation Helping Hand, and its community partners from Somerset County Department of Human Services, Reach for Recovery (R4R) Program – Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center, as well as representatives from Community in Crisis in Bernardsville, will be engaging with the public on Main Street in Somerville throughout the day. Educating our residents that overdose is preventable and talking about overdose can save lives is our top priority.
National Recovery Month is observed every September to promote and support treatment and recovery services across the nation. Prosecutor Robertson is committed to educating Somerset County residents about addiction, treatment and highlighting those who are making strides toward their recovery journey. Throughout the month of September, Operation Helping Hand and its community partners will seek out stories of hope and recovery from our community allowing them to share and inspire others.
Prosecutor Robertson stated the success of Somerset County’s Operation Helping Hand initiative would not be possible if not for the hard work and dedication of our community partners, especially, the working professionals of Somerset County Department of Human Services, Reach for Recovery (R4R) Program – Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center, Somerset Treatment Services, and Pioneer Family Success Center – EmPower Somerset.
Prosecutor Robertson and Chief Fodor request that anyone seeking these professional services offered to kindly reach out to the Reach for Recovery (R4R) Program at the Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center, (Recovery Support Specialists) at (908) 253-3119 and mention the Operation Helping Hand program or the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Helping Hand coordinator at (908) 231-7100 or make a report via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.