ROBBINSVILLE TOWNSHIP C.A.R.E.
Initiative Targets Treatment of Opiate Dependency
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ - Mayor Dave Fried and and Robbinsville Township Police Chief Chris Nitti on June 15, 2016 announced the formation of “Robbinsville C.A.R.E.” as part of an ongoing effort to offer treatment options for those suffering from opiate/opioid addiction.
Robbinsville C.A.R.E. – Community Addiction Recovery Effort – already was standard operating procedure employed by the Robbinsville Township Police Department. Since January of 2016, on-duty officers coordinate an action plan to aid those arrested in the Township struggling with opiate/opioid addiction by providing resources and access to treatment at the time of arrest. Conditions of that access include no current detainers (i.e. arrest warrants) in their name. Robbinsville C.A.R.E. allows RPD officers to offer a pathway to recovery by providing resources, access to treatment, and guidance from a trained drug counselor.
“We have a plan and are taking action by bridging the gaps with intervention, quality healthcare facilities, recovery professionals and contingencies to help get people clean," Robbinsville Police Sgt. Scott Kivet said. “Robbinsville is proud to now have every municipality in Mercer County, along with The College of New Jersey PD and the Trenton PD, come aboard to join the effort. I want to emphasize that what we are offering is a pathway to recovery, not a get-out-of-jail-free card.”
There were 166 overdose deaths in Mercer County from 2012-2015, including 55 last year alone. Contributing to the death rate is the fact New Jersey has some of the highest heroin purity rates in the nation. Of the 430 individuals arrested by Robbinsville Police for narcotics since 2015, close to 65 percent of those were for opiates/opioids.
“Not everyone chose to speak with a certified counselor, but all were offered that opportunity," Chief Nitti said. "We are proud to say that eight of the 19 followed through, accepted and received treatment. Three of those eight individuals had no insurance, but qualified for treatment scholarship through a Recovery Advocates of America scholarship. This program works.”
Robbinsville Police are now accepting walk-ins at its headquarters at 1117 Route 130 North and continue to be assisted by the local opiate task force. RPD will provide the counselor and the person struggling with addiction a safe, private setting to discuss the process of getting the help needed to begin the recovery process. Treatment scholarships and paid recovery expenses are based on eligibility and availability.
“We believe every crisis is a window of opportunity,” said Mayor Fried, who also serves as the Robbinsville Township Director of Public Safety. “Our police officers genuinely care. They are not just out there padding arrest statistics, and Robbinsville offering this program does not make an offender exempt from any criminal charges he/she is facing. Although the vast majority of individuals eligible for this potentially life-saving intervention are just passing through our town, opiate dependency is knocking at all of our doors. We felt it was incumbent upon Robbinsville Township to take a leading role in the treatment and recovery process with this plan of immediate intervention."