In 2019, Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton unveiled a new comprehensive plan to combat the opioid crisis called Operation Path Forward. This new initiative features a multi-pronged approach to deter opioid abuse including education, rehabilitation, continued treatment, and enforcement.
As part of the new initiative, the Sheriff’s Office has dispatched a new Community Outreach Vehicle that will serve as a both a prevention and educational tool. The vehicle will deploy a recovery specialist, a mental health clinician, and a Sheriff’s Officer to high risk areas in effort to prevent overdoses and encourage users to seek treatment. The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Children’s Aid and Family Services and the Bergen County Department of Health Services to provide these services during Operation Path Forward deployments.
The vehicle will also be utilized at community engagement opportunities to educate and spread awareness about the opioid crisis in Bergen County. The vehicle will be stocked with materials from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, Care Plus New Jersey, Bergen County Department of Health, Children’s Aid and Family Services, and Hope and Healing After an Addiction Death to offer guidance to anyone along the spectrum of recovery.
Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office officers are deployed every Friday to talk to 7th and 9thgraders as it relates to the dangers of opioid addiction. The goal of this effort is to deliver the knowledge that our collective agencies have gained during our training and experiences. Our mission is to provide a better understanding to Bergen County teenagers as it relates to the opioid crisis and also to inspire conversations with their doctors, dentists, families, and friends in order to best take care of their health and wellness. It should be noted that this presentation is available to anyone group including civic groups, church congregations, and senior citizen centers by simply filling out the request on the BCSO or BCPO website.
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office has installed a Medicine Drop Box in the entranceway of Two Bergen County Plaza to offer residents a convenient method to dispose of medication that is expired or no longer wanted. Our procedure is not only best for the environment, but it also prevents opioid based medication from falling into the wrong hands.
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office has the unique situation of interfacing with all individuals who have been arrested for an opioid related crime and have been remanded to the Bergen County Jail after being placed on a criminal arrest warrant. As a result of bail reform, it is common for these individuals to remain detained up to 48 hours. During this brief period of detention, the BCSO has partnered with the Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources to deploy their Certified Recovery Specialists (CRS) who have poignant conversations encouraging addicts to seek treatment options. The mission is to avoid individuals who may be in withdrawal and struggling with an addiction from returning to the community without any support or strategy.