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Monmouth County Intensifies Fight Against Opioid Addiction

833-OHH-CARE, an 24/7 opioid use helpline, will be featured on billboards, buses and train stations all across the county. This one is along Route 9.
833-OHH-CARE, an 24/7 opioid use helpline, will be featured on billboards, buses and train stations all across the county. This one is along Route 9. Photo Credit: Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office

An opioid diversion program and 24-hour helpline has been launched in Monmouth County.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is partnering with CPC Behavioral Healthcare and Recovery Advocates for the Shore on the two initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic, Monmouth Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a statement.

“This early intervention and treatment is key in breaking the cycle of opioid addiction and criminality,'' he said.

Through the state Attorney General’s CARES Operation Helping Hand grant, the county prosecutor’s office has established a 24/7 helpline 833-OHH-CARE Staffed by recovery coaches from Recovery Advocates for the Shore (RAFTS), the helpline links callers to opioid use treatment through CPC Behavioral Healthcare. 

Additionally, a prosecutor-led pilot program called the Opioid Diversion Program has been set up to divert non-violent offenders facing opioid possession charges to treatment at CPC in lieu of traditional prosecution.

"We at RAFTS are excited to be a part of this collaboration to further our mission to help families and individuals that are impacted by substance use disorder," said Nicole Federici, RAFTS founder. "Our recovery coaches are prepared to assist the residents of Monmouth County as they begin their journey to recovery."

Gramiccioni said he hopes that the Opioid Diversion Program, coupled with the helpline, can be a conduit for recovery. 

Under the program, non-violent offenders with pending opioid possession charges are referred directly to CPC for opioid use treatment. Upon successful completion of treatment, criminal charges will be dismissed.

Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, ODP has moved to "virtual" individual and group therapy sessions with CPC. All participants have been connected to recovery services from RAFTS for additional support during the coronavirus crisis. CPC is conducting virtual intake appointments and treatment sessions, as well as referrals to detox and inpatient programs, for new ODP participants and helpline callers until in-person services resume.

Ken Pecoraro, director of Addiction Recovery Services at CPC Behavioral Healthcare, said, "We are so grateful to be a part of this project.”

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