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‘Operation Helping Hand’ nets 13 arrests; offers treatment for those suffering from opioid addiction

PASSAIC COUNTY, NJ – Thirteen people were arrested in “Operation Helping Hand” an innovative law enforcement and public health initiative targeting the opioid crisis in Passaic County, according to Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes.

On Monday, April 19, members of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force concluded Operation Helping Hand, a two-day street operation resulting in thirteen arrests. The individuals arrested were residents of Bergen, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex Counties in New Jersey and Rockland County in New York, Valdes said.

“Operation Helping Hand” demonstrates the Passaic County Prosecutor Office’s commitment to combating the perils of addiction by providing substance abuse treatment as an alternative to immediate incarceration. Each individual arrested during this initiative was privately screened by a peer recovery specialist from the Morris County Center for Addiction Recovery, Education and Success (CARES) in an effort to connect them with treatment and recovery services, Valdes said.

All the individuals arrested as a result of this operation accepted substance abuse treatment. They either made arrangements to begin out-patient treatment at a later date or were transported directly to treatment facilities by a member of law enforcement, Valdes said.

“Acceptance of treatment is not in lieu of arrest. Rather, this process turns law enforcement encounters into an opportunity for individuals to turn their lives around and help break the cycle of addiction by connecting each individual with vital treatment, recovery and support services,” Valdes said.

“With the collaborative effort of law enforcement and substance abuse treatment agencies, it is the mission of all those involved that the number of people afflicted with opioid addiction eventually decreases and that those who once suffered from its grasp can lead fruitful, productive, and healthy lives,” Valdes said.

This endeavor would not have been possible without the support, dedication and commitment from all the peer recovery specialists from Morris CARES who assisted in pairing those seeking treatment with the appropriate programs and facilities, Valdes said.

Assisting with the operation were members of the Haledon Police Department, Hawthorne Police Department, North Haledon Police Department, Pompton Lakes Police Department, Prospect Park Police Department, Totowa Police Department, Wayne Police Department, and Wanaque Police Department.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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