S. Jersey drug treatment program is working — and growing

David Madden
April 24, 2019 - 1:53 pm
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina

David Madden/KYW Newsradio

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BURLINGTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A year-long program to get people with drug addictions into treatment programs in Burlington County is expanding into a third municipality come May.

The "Straight to Treatment" program began a little over a year ago in Evesham Township. Pemberton came on board shortly thereafter. Now the city of Burlington is taking part, and police chief John Fine expects it to be a big help.

"We’re not going to arrest our way out of our drug problems here in Burlington City," Fine said. "Unfortunately, a lot of our drug problems turn into the violent crime or turn into the non-violent crimes, and hopefully we see a reduction in our crime stats as well."

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The concept is simple enough. Basically, you show up and ask for help. Police check and address any outstanding warrants. And you either go into a program, or they set things up. More than 100 people have done just that since the program’s inception, according to Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina.

"I am hopeful that, for the first time in at least five years, the number of fatal overdoses in our county will decrease this year and that we are starting to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel," v said.

Burlington will offer the service on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, joining Evesham on Mondays and Pemberton on Tuesdays. Donations, not tax dollars are used to pay for program costs, and no insurance is necessary to get the treatment. In fact, you don’t even have to live in the county to take part.