SOUTH BRUNSWICK – In just more than one month since the South Brunswick Police Department initiated a new program to combat opiate usage, positive results are being reported.
“Opiate addiction is a problem affecting the entire country, not just one community. We wanted to give people suffering addiction and their family members quicker access to the resources they need. The calls and emails I have received praising the police department’s response and follow through have been tremendous,” Police Chief Raymond Hayducka said in a prepared statement.
In the past year and a half, South Brunswick has had 24 overdoses, with four deaths. On 12 occasions, officers used the drug naloxone to reverse the heroin or opiate impact in an attempt to save the person’s life, according to Hayducka’s statement.
Under the new program, South Brunswick officers have an immediate resource for those needing assistance. The department has partnered with SOBA College Recovery of New Brunswick to assist people and families seeking treatment. When an officer is called to a scene or has contact with someone struggling with opiate addiction, the officer can provide a SOBA card. SOBA will provide potential treatment options and follow up with the individual. A SOBA representative came to the police department and provided officers with insights into addiction and treatment, according to the statement.
In the past month, one family reached out to express how thankful they were that the department had a resource for them as they felt helpless. Another person wrote that by the officers taking the time to speak with them and connecting them to SOBA, it made all the difference, according to the statement.
“We realize that this is not a cure, but creating a comprehensive plan that partners police and health care providers will create better outcomes and save lives,” Hayducka said.