The illicit use of prescription drugs has created an epidemic throughout the United States and even more significantly in the Philadelphia Metropolitan area of the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Gloucester Township Police Department understands that heroin addiction is no longer a problem facing cities and is now in the backyard of suburban communities like Gloucester Township.
The consequences of this epidemic are many. Crime, family dysfunction, and physical/emotional abuse, are just a few of the many tragic results of the disease of addiction. It is well known that such drug addiction and abuse cause crime. Desperation leads many to commit acts that perhaps they would have not engaged in if it were not for the power of illicit substances.
The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse 2014 Report entitled Confronting New Jersey’s Drug Problem, herein referred to as the “2014 GCADA Report” found that drug overdose death is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. The revelation that the new leading cause of accidental death are drug overdoses demands a comprehensive nationwide response similar to what has been enacted to combat motor vehicle accidents and other health crisis such as AIDS.
A number of the actions listed in this plan were created as a result of GT PIER (Gloucester Township Prevention Information Roundtable) which was implemented in 2011 in response to the growing concern of prescription abuse. Additionally, previously implemented measures as well as new initiatives described support the recommended action steps as detailed in the 2014 GCADA Report.
The measures in this action plan focus police efforts and practices in the three critical areas of law enforcement SUPPRESSION, PREVENTION, and INTERVENTION in an effort to effectively combat this epidemic both now and in the future.
The SAVE Advocate
One of the most significant initiatives associated with Project SAVE is the SAVE Advocate which entails having a New Jersey Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor in this Municipal Court Room. The absence of such a drug court program in municipal court often leaves defendants, family members of those suffering from addiction, and even the Judge with few options regarding treatment or assistance.
The Project SAVE Advocate will be present in the Gloucester Township Municipal Court to assist defendants suffering from addiction, their family members, the Municipal Prosecutor, and the Judge with providing information about available treatment programs. The SAVE Advocate also serves as another resource for Gloucester Township Police Department to provide information about treatment programs.
SAVE Support Group
The SAVE Support Group is an opportunity for adults who struggle with family members who are addicted to alcohol or other drugs. The purpose of this support group is to give voice to those affected by this problem. Participants will explore ways of handling common problems and make changes in their own attitude and behavior toward the addict.
The SAVE Support Group meets on Wednesdays at the GTPD Family Resource Center located at 1324 Little Gloucester Road Blackwood, NJ 08012. For more information please call 856-842-5553. Information can also be found on our Facebook page, Gloucester Township Police Department Family Resource Center, https://www.facebook.com/GTPDFRC