Posted Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Offers Substance Abuse Treatment to Persons Arrested for Drug Possession

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office has announced that this fall it will roll out the next phase of Operation Helping Hand, an initiative where substance abuse treatment is offered to those arrested for possessory drug offenses.Morris County Prosecutor's Office seal

On Oct. 17, Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Sheriff James M. Gannon, First Assistant Prosecutor Thomas A. Zelante, Acting Chief of Investigations Christoph Kimker, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Brad Seabury, and members of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Special Operations Division briefed municipal law enforcement participants on the next phase of the program.

In 2018 Prosecutors’ Offices from five counties, including Morris County, participated in a statewide phase of the program, alongside many municipal police departments and sheriff’s offices.  Morris County instituted its own Operation helping Hand program earlier this year.

In the next phase of Operation Helping Hand,  as part of a coordinated and collaborative operation with local and county law enforcement partners, if an individual is arrested for a controlled dangerous substance offense during an OHH operation, they will be offered the opportunity to avail themselves of recovery resources. If accepted, the individuals will be referred to a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist from the Center for Addiction, Recovery Education and Success (CARES).

Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp

Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp

“This program is all about saving lives. It is about getting people into treatment where they will hopefully take advantage of the resources offered to them to combat the illness of addiction,” said Prosecutor Knapp

During the first phase of Morris County’s Operation Helping Hand, Morris County law enforcement made 45 arrests, four of which included charges for possession of controlled dangerous substances with the intent to distribute.

Of the 35 individuals deemed eligible for Operation Helping Hand Services, 27, or 80 percent, accepted treatment. The operation also resulted in the seizure of more than 1,000 folds of heroin, more than two ounces of cocaine, and more than two pounds of THC-related substances, including marijuana, hashish, and vape pens and cartridges.

Inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to [email protected].