July 18, 2017 marked the anniversary of the Sussex County C.L.E.A.R. Program and a breakfast celebration was hosted by Newton Medical Center to share the successes of one year in operation. Newton Police Department was recognized for their leadership in innovative, community policing and Recovery Coaches shared the outcomes of the program’s first year. Between July 2016 and July 2017, 147 people have contacted the C.L.E.A.R. for information or assistance. Forty-six people with substance use disorder (SUD) have been connected with a peer recovery coach and 24 of them have maintained that contact. A total of 29 people have walked into the Newton Police Department to seek help, and 35 people with SUD have been connected to treatment. Most notably, Jeremy, a C.L.E.A.R. participant and young person in recovery, shared his experience with the program. Jeremy spoke his fear of walking into the police department, but how he was comforted and encouraged by the officers and Recovery Coach who assisted him. "I realized that asking for help doesn't have to be scary. Being in active addiction is scary," Jeremy said. "The C.L.E.A.R. program was the first step to saving my life."
The United States accounts for approximately one quarter of the estimated number of drug-related deaths worldwide, including overdose deaths, which continue to rise, and deaths from overdoses of prescription drugs and heroin continue to be the leading cause of unintentional death for Americans. International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31, acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends who have lost a loved one to overdose and aims to raise awareness that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.
In observance of this day, the Sussex County Recovery Advocacy Team invites the community to join them for a candlelight vigil at 7:00 p.m. on the Green in Newton Town Square. Recovery support information and resources will be available and speakers will include Father Robert Griner, Prosecutor Francis Koch and Police Chief Michael Richards. Community members may bring a photo to honor a loved one lost through overdose.
The public is also encouraged to bring and dispose of unwanted or expired prescription drugs at an available mobile prescription disposal box for proper handling to prevent drug misuse.
Over 23 millions of Americans are currently living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Recovery from Substance Use Disorders and other Mental Health conditions is not only possible, but a reality for many. For the past 27 years, September has been recognized as National Recovery Month to raise awareness, celebrate the success of recovery and highlight treatment and recovery support service providers.
Fifty entries were submitted for the 2017 Heroin & Opioid Art Contest sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration and NY/NJ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and Partnership for Drug-Free New Jersey. Submissions from Sussex, Morris and Warren Counties, along with the winners will be displayed at The Center on Friday, September 22 at 7:00 p.m. for a special art reception. The public is invited to attend, and artists and speakers in recovery will be featured. Please RSVP to [email protected]