Opioid use helpline, diversion program serving Monmouth County

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The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, in partnership with CPC Behavioral Healthcare and Recovery Advocates for the Shore, has launched two initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic, Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.

“The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office has created a 24-hour helpline and an opioid
diversion program to help residents of Monmouth County suffering with opioid use disorders and to simplify their connection to local treatment,” Gramiccioni said on May 12. “This early intervention and treatment is key in breaking the cycle of opioid addiction and criminality.”

The Prosecutor’s Office, through the Office of the Attorney General’s NJ CARES Operation Helping Hand grant, has established a 24/7 helpline, 833-OHH-CARE, staffed by recovery coaches from Recovery Advocates for the Shore (RAFTS) that links callers to opioid use treatment through CPC Behavioral Healthcare (CPC), according to a press release.

Additionally, the office has created a prosecutor-led pilot program called the Opioid Diversion Program (ODP) 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, founder. “Our recovery coaches are prepared to assist the residents of Monmouth County as they begin their journey to recovery.”

“Along with our helpline, we hope the ODP will be a conduit for recovery as well,” Gramiccioni said.

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, according to the press release.

Since the COVID-19 epidemic began, ODP has moved to virtual individual and group therapy sessions with CPC. Additionally, all participants have been connected to recovery services from RAFTS for additional support during the health crisis.

CPC is also 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 recommence, according to the press release.

“At CPC, we value the ODP clients because so many of them have expressed gratitude right
from the outset for the opportunity to get linked to treatment early in the criminal justice process,” said Ken Pecoraro, director of addiction recovery services at CPC Behavioral Healthcare.

“The structure of ODP, with the additional support of RAFTS, has given the participants a renewed opportunity to focus on recovery, especially during the current pandemic. I hope to see this program continue to grow and expand because so many people need the help. On behalf of CPC Behavioral Healthcare, we are so grateful to be a part of this project,” he said.

“Isolation and uncertainty can lead to an increase in opioid use and overdoses. If you know
someone struggling with addiction right now, please call our helpline,” Gramiccioni said.

The 833-OHH-CARE and the Opioid Diversion Program was created by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office as part of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General’s NJ CARES Operation Helping Hand grant, according to the press release.