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Prosecutor Sutherland announces the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office has received the Operation Helping Hand Grant from the State of New Jersey

September 3, 2019

Cape May Court House, New Jersey – Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland announces the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office has received the Operation Helping Hand Grant from the State of New Jersey.

According to Prosecutor Sutherland, on August 13, 2019, Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted Resolution 587-19 accepting a Grant Award from the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety and the Office of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (“NJ CARES”). The grant was created to address the opioid crisis affecting residents of New Jersey. Attorney General Grewal initiated the Grant last year as part of his “Operation Helping Hand” program to combat opioid addiction.

The Cape May County Prosecutor’s office successfully applied last year and received over $58,000. This year the Prosecutor’s Office is applying for a $100,000 grant to expand on their Hope One Mobile Outreach program to combat the opioid addiction epidemic. The grant is part of a $2.2 million grant funded by the State of New Jersey and Federal Government to provide up to $100,000 to each of New Jersey’s 21 County Prosecutor’s offices. Last year Cape May County used the funds to help launch the Hope One Cape May County outreach van that has been deployed though-out Cape May County. The van was a surplus van donated by the Cape May County Freeholders and the Prosecutor’s office used non-taxpayer criminal forfeiture funds to outfit the van to provide the necessary services. The services include training people to administer Naloxone to overdose patients and providing free naloxone kits, advocating for and placing people into rehabilitation programs, directing people to mental health and addiction services, and providing prevention and treatment information to help people suffering from addiction and their families.

“I have really been impressed by the outreach efforts made by the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office,” said Cape May County Freeholder Vice-Director Leonard Desiderio, liaison to Public Safety. “This grant will only further the amazing efforts from Prosecutor Sutherland and his team.”

The Hope One Van of Cape County is a collaborative effort with local law enforcement agencies and with numerous substance abuse treatment and recovery agencies in Cape May County. The purpose of the community outreach vehicle is to provide a unique and innovative method of reaching those suffering from addiction by traveling to areas of high rates of reported users and areas that are isolated and disengaged to reach out before users come in contact with law enforcement or suffer an overdose. The following partnerships and collaborative efforts create the Hope One team: Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, Cape May County Department of Human Services, Cape May County Freeholders, Law Enforcement Agencies in the communities being served, Cape Assist, Acenda Integrated Health, US Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Cape Addiction Recovery Services (CARES), Christians United for Recovery (“CURE”) ARCH Nurses (South Jersey AIDS Alliance), Cape May County Recovery Court, Cape Regional Medical Center and the Greg DiAntonio Memorial Fund.

“We were proud to work with the Prosecutor’s Office in providing the Hope One van,” said Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton. “Outreach is so key and this van along with the community participation has been a tremendous asset to this County.”

The additional grant funds will be used to hire a civilian Community Justice Coordinator to help better implement, track and expand the program. Cape May County is the only county in Southern New Jersey that had a drop in overdose deaths between 2017 (59 deaths) and 2018 (47 deaths). Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland stated; “I believe the Hope One mobile outreach unit contributed to the drop in overdose deaths and without the collaborative efforts of our County Government and our coalition partners none of this would be possible. Until the death rate reaches zero our mission will not be done”