Burlington County steps up efforts to combat opioid addiction

David Madden
August 24, 2019 - 4:00 am
Prescription bottle with blank label for copy space and white pills or tablets on metal table for opioid epidemic illustration

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MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Burlington County is stepping up efforts to address the opioid addiction problem, pairing up police with health care experts.

Operation Helping Hand has been in place for a few months, aiming to use recovery specialists to advise people in need of help on how they can get it.

This month, they’ve been on call through police around the clock. Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said it’s working with 25 dispatches so far, more than half of whom are at least considering rehab.

“It’s been very active, particularly on the weekends,” Coffina said. “We’re very pleased with that. It’s one more avenue to providing a path to treatment for whoever might need it.”

The state has provided $75,000 so far, and there’s another $100,000 on the way to keep the operation going at some level.

“We’re always learning and trying to adapt to what we learn,” he added. “So we may not go 24/7 throughout the coming year, but we do intend to have a full-time recovery specialist on board.”

The county has other campaigns in place. One puts naloxone, also known as Narcan, at hotels and motels for staff to use to help an overdose victim. Another sets aside time for police in Evesham, Pemberton and Burlington to help anyone coming off the street who wants to enter a treatment program, with or without health insurance.