Opioid related overdoses continue to impact communities across the country.
In Mercer County, a new mobile unit will be utilized to help combat against the opioid crisis.
“The mobile unit initially is focusing on the hardest hit neighborhoods, based on where overdoses have occurred in the last few years,” Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said.
“The unit will be traveling throughout the county since we know every community experiences overdoses, fatal and non-fatal.”
This comes after the Mercer County Office of Addiction Services awarded a contract to the Rescue Mission of Trenton to provide mobile recovery support services.
The mobile unit provides residents with same day connections to different treatment services and operates six days a week.
Mobile units are being used throughout communities in America to bring treatment services directly to hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations, according to the Recovery Research Institute.
The funding for the mobile recovery support services was made available through the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, according to the county.
“The Rescue Mission of Trenton was awarded the contract in the amount of $343,701 ($313,701 in state funds); and $30,000 (in county funds) for the provision of a recovery support services mobile unit for the period of May 1 through Dec. 31, with an option to extend for one year,” Hughes said.
There will be one mobile unit servicing the county with two full-time staff members and one part-time staff member.
The unit is designed to assist the county in engaging residents and informing them about the local resources that are available.
Additionally, the new mobile unit provides Narcan kits, connects residents to local treatment services and helps prevent overdoses in the county, according to Mercer County.
“Currently outreach into the community was already started with the use of a van that the Rescue Mission already owns,” Hughes said. “A new mobile unit specific to this service and contract was ordered and purchased by the Rescue Mission but there have been some delays with delivery.”
Hughes said he is hopeful by December or January the new mobile unit will arrive.
“In the meantime, the Rescue Mission team has been able to develop their workflow process, order supplies and provide services to our county residents,” he said.
The Mercer County Office on Addiction Services currently has other efforts that are underway to help address overdoses in the county.
These efforts include an Overdose Fatality Review Team, Narcan training and outreach services, and additional school-based prevention programs, treatment and recovery support services in the community.
According to Hughes, the county has contracts with many treatment providers to ensure access to services and/or case management.
The Office of Addiction Services has been completing a community needs assessment, which will guide funding for the Mercer County Comprehensive Plan from 2024 to 2027.
Residents were able to fill out a questionnaire in an effort to help determine the funding needs and gaps in services for county residents.
For more information about Office of Addiction Services visit www.mercercounty.org.