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New Initiatives to Help Addicts Receive Treatment through Police Departments

Many know someone who has suffered from drug abuse and addiction. When someone is stuck in that cycle of constant drug use it can seem hard for some to get themselves out of it. Now for anyone who is facing the hardship of addiction can now seek help in an unlikely place. Currently addicts can go to two police departments in Ocean County New Jersey and get the treatment they need, even if they do not have insurance.

The new program also allows the addicts to hand over their drugs while not fearing the consequences of the law. Al Della Fave, a representative of Ocean County Prosecutors office came out whit this new information recently. The Prosecutors office is leading this new initiative that will be formally known as the Heroin Addiction Response Program.

The trial program will begin by being offered two days a week, at two separate police departments. Manchester Police Department will run the program on Wednesdays and the Brick Police Department will have it on Thursdays.

Joseph Coronato, who is the Ocean County Prosecutor, said that the program is an effort to try and get more addicts the treatment they need, while shifting the current model of arrest and imprison for drug addicts. Coronato went on to state that: “It is my mandate that Ocean County Law Enforcement treat all those suffering from addiction with compassion, care, and concern while providing resources to assist in their recovery,”. He went on further to say that candidates will be screened to see if they are suitable for treatment.

For the people who are selected to the program they will be heading to the New Jersey Addiction Triage Center, which is a nonprofit organization. New Jersey Addiction Triage Center is fairly new that incorporated at the end of last year and is backed by a rehabilitation center in Pennsylvania, called the Malvern Institute.

This Triage Center currently works with the Prosecutors in Monmouth and Ocean counties, to create a new diversion program that will give people who are arrested with addictions the treatment they need. The center will coordinate with rehabilitation clinics to take patients from the program, regardless of insurance. The program was designed to entice treatment centers to accept patients without insurance and in change will later be given patients with insurance that come through other diversion programs.

There is said to be about twenty-four new recovery coaches that are going to be working with the program. These coaches will be contractors through the Malvern Institute. Currently the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office plans to fund this program through money forfeited from drug busts and has already begun funding training through this method.

The Heroin Addiction Response Program will send the participants of the program to two local New Jersey treatment centers. The two facilities said to be participating in the program are the Ocean County-based Preferred Behavioral Health Group and Integrity House, based in North Jersey with a facility in Toms River.  These two will not be the only facilities in the program as there will be other facilities used that are located in Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Della Fave went on to state that anyone can participate in the program and they can be from out of the county and even out of state.

This new program came on the heels of The New England Journal of Medicine published a new report on a similar program located in Gloucester, Massachusetts. That program is called the Angel Initiative and is being touted as a model for other programs like it across the country. According to the publication it showed that only a minority of people who suffer from opioid addiction seek treatment. From 2009 to 2013, 21% of people who suffer from opioid addiction got any sort of treatment.

In 2015 The Angel Initiative started and has since helped 520 people find treatment. John Rosenthal who is a co-founder of the Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative said that many of those 520 people were from out of the area and even from out of the state. Per Rosenthal Gloucester has seen a 30 percent decrease in crime that is typically related to addiction.

Since the program in Gloucester is so new, they are tracking the progress of the patients that have entered the program. The program in Gloucester is one of only a few places to be tracking the progress of its patients, so in that regard it is fairly unique.

These types of programs are popping up all over the country and as Rosenthal puts it “are taking off like wildfire,”. There are programs like this starting in Macomb County, Michigan, and recently Manchester, Connecticut. So far Police Department-based programs with the aim to help addicts are spreading and tracking the patients will be the key in seeing if these programs are successful. Coronato, did go on to say that tracking patients in their Heroin Addiction Response Program is going to be the programs foundation as “We have to see what programs are effective,”. Overall these programs seem to be rather cost effective and are helping mend the relations between the addicts and police officers, but only time and proper tracking will tell whether or not these programs are truly effective.



John Gotti’s Grandson Arrested for OxyContin Possession

John Gotti, the 23-year-old grandson of infamous mob boss John Gotti, was arrested inside his Queens, NY home on Thursday, August 4th. Police had long suspected Gotti of selling powerful opioid painkillers. On June 30th he was caught with 205 oxycodone pills, 18 methadone pills, testosterone, Xanax, and marijuana. Also, for the last three months, undercover police had been purchasing pills from Gotti. The total amount exceeds $45,000. Gotti has previously been seen selling pills at a local tattoo parlor, and has also been caught on a wiretap bragging about selling 4,200 pills a month. When he was arrested Thursday, police found 500 oxycodone pills and $40,000 cash.



Operation Beach Party

The Gotti home sits on Howard Beach in Queens. It is the same house the original John Gotti used to run the Gambino crime family in the 1980s and 90s. Reportedly though, during this time, no gangster activity was allowed in the house. Lewis Kasman, close friend of the Gotti family, said, “No wiseguy was allowed in that house and the only non-blood family member permitted inside was me.” Apparently, the grandson John Gotti thought differently, as he and 8 others were arrested.

Operation Beach Party was the name given to the takedown by police. Gotti had sold pills at least 11 times to undercover officers, and had been heard discussing the business on the phone. He and his girlfriend Eleonor Gabrielli, along with seven others ranging in age from 23 to 57, had been running an operation out of the beach home. Along with the pills and cash found at the Gotti residence, $200,000 cash was recovered from others involved.

Police kicked the door in, and stormed into the bedroom where Gotti and his girlfriend were. The other seven were scattered around the house. This was the first time ever the Gotti house had been raided.


What he’s doing now

At the time of arrest, Gotti said he was being “stupid, young and dumb,” and even called the Howard Beach community a “toxic environment.” Whether he was being earnest remains to be determined, but Mr. Gotti did make one move in the right direction following his arrest. He has entered into a drug detoxification program inside of Rikers Island Correctional where he’s being held.

Maybe this can do John Gotti some good, seeing as Rikers Island boasts the longest-running opioid treatment program in the entire country. If all charges stick, he is looking at 25 years in prison. That should be sufficient time for him to sober up.