Posted Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Burlington Wants to Replicate the Sheriff’s Hope One Mobile Substance Abuse Recovery Program

Representatives of the Burlington County Sheriff’s and Prosecutor’s Offices want to replicate Hope One, an innovative mobile substance abuse recovery vehicle launched in April 2017 by Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon to help fight opioid and heroin addiction.

(l/r) Burlington County Sheriff’s Office Chief Mike Ditzel, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon (center) and Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Investigations Darren Anderson, standing in front of the Hope One van in Netcong

(l/r) Burlington County Sheriff’s Office Chief Mike Ditzel, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon (center) and Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Investigations Darren Anderson

Sheriff Gannon met with law enforcement officials from Burlington County this week in Netcong, where the Hope One van was stationed outside of the Netcong Train Station. Over the past 21 months, the Hope One van has logged more than 6,000 contacts with individuals struggling with addiction, or their families and friends.

Hope One already has been replicated by the Newark Police Department in December and earlier by the Cape May Prosecutor’s Office and Monmouth and Atlantic County Sheriff’s Offices.

Burlington County Sheriff’s Office Chief Mike Ditzel said he heard Sheriff Gannon speak about Hope One at a New Jersey State Chiefs of Police Association meeting last fall, admired the concept, and believes Burlington County can be successful with the same proactive approach.

“This could potentially be a great addition to other programs we have, including youth programs to help stop addiction before it starts,” said Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Investigations Darren Anderson.

“We bring services to the client, out in the field,” Sheriff Gannon told the Burlington County officials. “It’s successful because of relationships we have with the service providers.”

(l/r) Burlington County Sheriff’s Office Detective Mike Vining, Madine Despeine of the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Counties, BCSO Chief Mike Ditzel, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano, Ashley Reed, care navigator for Family Promise of Morris County; Peer Recovery Specialist Kelly LaBar; Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon; Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Investigations Darren Anderson and BCPO Detective Jessica Lettieri.

(l/r) Burlington Sheriff’s Detective Mike Vining, Madine Despeine of the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, BCSO Chief Mike Ditzel, Morris County Sheriff’s Corporal Erica Valvano; Ashley Reed of Family Promise of Morris County; Peer Recovery Specialist Kelly LaBar; Morris Sheriff Gannon; Burlington County Prosecutor’sChief of Investigations Darren Anderson and BCPO Detective Jessica Lettieri.

Sheriff Gannon noted that 3,118 people statewide died of overdoses in 2018, a 15 percent increase over 2017 but Morris County saw a 1 percent decrease in overdoses in 2018 from the previous year. There were 84 deaths attributed to overdoses in 2018 in Morris County.

Since April 3, 2017, when Hope One made its debut on The Green in Morristown, the vehicle has made about 270 stops in locations throughout Morris County that statistics show are populated by at-risk people and where drug overdoses are occurring. Sheriff Gannon said 200 people who boarded Hope One in search of services were transported to treatment for mental health issues or to detox centers and treatment facilities for their substance abuse addictions.

In nonjudgmental style, the staff offer literature, resources, Narcan training, coffee, water, hand warmers and snacks to visitors to Hope One, and are equipped to immediately help individuals find treatment for their addictions.