Are you concerned that a loved one is using drugs? Here are some signs that they may be in the throes of addiction.
Russ Zimmer

Five Ocean County police departments have joined a program aimed at getting addicts into treatment.

Ocean Gate is the latest department to participate in the Ocean County Prosecutor’s “Blue HART” program, which uses police departments to connect addicts with treatment services and support. Stafford, Brick, Manchester and most recently, Lacey, which launched the program in mid-June, are the other four departments.

The program works like this: addicts or substance abusers can turn themselves and their drugs in at any of the five participating police headquarters in order to get addiction services without threat of charges or jail. By doing so, the county also expects a reduction in crimes like burglary and theft by addicts seeking money for drugs.

“Since January, ‘Blue HART’ has helped over 200 individuals to successfully fight the curse of addiction,” Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said in a news release.

To make that possible, the prosecutor’s office and local police partnered with three agencies – Ocean Mental Health in Stafford and Berkeley, Preferred Behavioral Health in Lakewood, and Integrity House in Toms River – that provide treatment. 

Help is available at Ocean Gate and Lacey police departments on Mondays, Stafford police on Tuesdays, Manchester police on Wednesdays and Brick police on Thursdays. There, anyone who requests help with be screened and transportation arranged for treatment.

“It’s not just a health department issue,” said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. “It’s the addicts who are really in need of a dose, these are the…