MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon led a day-long symposium celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Morris County Hope One, a ground-breaking support program to help people struggling with addiction that has inspired Hope One programs around New Jersey and the nation.
The symposium, which attracted about 200 participants, included the Morris County Board of County Commissioners presenting a “Resolution of Honor” to Kevin and Robin Gannon of Toms River, who donated $100,000 to support the Morris County Hope One program. Presenting the honor were Commissioner Director Tayfun Selen, Deputy Director John Krickus and Commissioner Deborah Smith during a morning segment of the program held at Saint Elizabeth University’s Dolan Hall in Convent Station.
“Their generosity is literally unmatched. We are both very grateful and hopeful. We hope others will recognize this generosity, and take note of the unique work being done by Hope One. This program has inspired the creation of Hope One programs around New Jersey and the nation,” Selen said.
Kevin Gannon, who is Sheriff Gannon’s brother, grew up in Boonton Township, and Robin grew up in Lake Hiawatha.
“The sense of civic duty demonstrated by Kevin and Robin is something that clearly runs in the family. The sheriff has redefined the duties of law enforcement in Morris County by focusing not only on public safety, but also on crime prevention through human services outreach,” Krickus said.
Hope One sends professionals trained in addiction services into the community, via a mobile recovery unit, where they encounter people in need of addiction services and who are at risk of overdose. The Hope One team connects individuals they meet with treatment services and trains citizens in how to deal with someone who overdoses, specifically in the use of Narcan to revive overdose victims.
Sheriff Gannon said that Hope One was born in Morris County in April 2017, and credited Cpl. Erica Valvano on his staff with piloting the project and being the driving force behind Hope One. He described the program as a “use recovery and mental health initiative,” explaining that the Hope One team closely works with individuals impacted by the opioid epidemic, then shares the lessons learned to inspire other agencies to replicate the program.
Morris County Hope One marks its five year anniversary with over 27,000 community contacts and over 5,000 people trained in the use of life-saving Narcan.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Morris County Department of Human Services, the Mental Health Association and the Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES), staffs the Hope One unit with a plain clothes Sheriff’s Officer, a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist and a Mental Health Professional.
Joining the symposium yesterday were the operators of Hope One programs that have developed in Newark and Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Hunterdon, Monmouth, Passaic and Warren counties.
The symposium was moderated by Brian Thompson of NBC TV News, and he was joined by Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll, Dr. Gary B. Crosby of Saint Elizabeth University, Assistant Attorney General Craig Sashihara who also serves as counsel to NJ CARES and Kevin Coyle of the New Jersey State Police Drug Monitoring Initiative.
Speakers throughout the day included people who experienced drug addiction and professionals who work in peer counseling, Hope One programs and mental health screening.