Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes announces the most recent results of “Operation Helping Hand,” an innovative law enforcement and public health initiative targeting the opioid crisis in Passaic County.
On April 29, members of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force concluded Operation Helping Hand, consisting of eight one-day street operations, which took place between February and April of this year.
A total of eighty-two individuals were arrested.
The individuals arrested were residents of Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex Counties in New Jersey, Rockland County in New York, and Luzerne County in Pennsylvania.
“Operation Helping Hand” demonstrates the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office's commitment to combatting the perils of addiction by providing substance abuse treatment as an alternative to immediate incarceration.
Each individual arrested during this initiative was privately screened by a peer recovery specialist from the Morris County Center for Addiction Recovery, Education and Success (CARES) in an effort to connect them with treatment and recovery services.
Sixty-eight of the individuals arrested as a result of this operation accepted substance abuse treatment.
They either made arrangements to begin outpatient treatment at a later date or were transported directly to treatment facilities by a member of law enforcement.
Acceptance of treatment is not in lieu of arrest. Rather, this process turns law enforcement encounters into an opportunity for individuals to turn their lives around and help break the cycle of addiction by connecting each individual with vital treatment, recovery and support services.
With the collaborative effort of law enforcement and substance abuse treatment agencies, it is the mission of all those involved that the number of people afflicted with opioid addiction eventually decreases and that those who once suffered from its grasp can lead fruitful, productive, and healthy lives.
This endeavor would not have been possible without the support, dedication and commitment from all the peer recovery specialists from Morris CARES, who assisted in pairing those seeking treatment with the appropriate programs and facilities.