DOVER, NJ (Morris County) – Rain, wind and even squalls of snow failed to dampen the 4th anniversary celebration of Morris County’s unique and heralded Hope One program, a mobile treatment and recovery unit that visits towns two to three times weekly to reach people in need of addiction services and more.
The celebration was held at JFK Commons in Dover, and among the speakers and guests were Commissioners Thomas Mastrangelo and Deputy Director Deborah Smith, state Senator Anthony Bucco, Assemblywomen BettyLou DeCroce and Aura Dunn and Acting Prosecutor Robert Carroll. Also in attendance were Dover Mayor Carolyn Blackman, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, Congressman Thomas Malinowski, Surrogate Heather Darling, CEO Joann Bjornson of Family Promise of Morris County, CEO Robert Davidson of the Mental Health Association of Essex & Morris and Melody Runyon, Director of the Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success.
“We are not going to arrest our way out of this problem,” said Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, whose office initiated Hope One four years ago with the aid of Morris County, its Human Services Department, the Mental Health Association of Essex & Morris, Prevention is Key and their Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success.
Since 2017, the Hope One mobile unit has not only been finding people struggling with addiction and connecting them with help, but also encountering people who are homeless, on the verge of becoming homeless, or people needing food, medical care, legal advice and other types of assistances. The program led to a spin-off program launched this year called Hope Hub, a multidisciplinary panel of law enforcement, social services, mental health services, healthcare providers, treatment providers and recovery specialists who review the cases of at-risk people countered by Hope One, police, social workers, educators or any other government and non-profit agencies.
“If we did not have Hope One over these past four years, we would not have had more than 17,600 people contacted. We would not have had 3,302 trained in using Narcan to revive people who overdose. We would not have saved the 54 lives saved through Hope One,” Morris County Commissioner Director Stephen H. Shaw said.
Sheriff Gannon and the Commissioners also gave special thanks and recognition to Hope One Coordinator Erica Valvano, a corporal with the Sheriff’s office, who has lead Hope One since its beginning.
To learn more about Hope One, click here.