Monmouth County HOPE One Mobile Unit continues saving lives during challenging drug epidemic
There are lifelines, there is help, and there is always hope as communities across the Jersey Shore and beyond battle the ongoing drug epidemic that has taken so many lives in recent history.
One such lifeline that offers help and hope came to be in 2018 in Monmouth County and thru the HOPE One Mobile Unit, there has been significant strides made in affecting change and saving lives in these communities.
In 2022 alone, there have been 51 overdose deaths post-naloxone and 304 naloxone deployments in Monmouth County, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, which follows 72/587 in 2021, 143/512 in 2020, 190/466 in 2019, and 216/553 in 2018.
The Monmouth County Sheriff's Office recently announced that this HOPE One Mobile Unit will be set up on every third Thursday of each month thru the winter months to continue in the effort of helping people find recovery from the throngs of drug addiction.
"We're very proud in the Sheriff's Office here in Monmouth County to have a number of partners in the fight against opioids and addiction. HOPE One is just one of those important pieces -- HOPE stands for Heroin Opioid Prevention and Education -- that allows us to take it mobile," Sheriff Shaun Golden tells Townsquare Media News. "We want to reach out and touch as many individuals, not just those afflicted with addiction, but family members that have somebody afflicted with an addiction."
There are a lot of statistics being studied during this lingering epidemic with a goal being to bring the numbers down and help people who are struggling.
"If you go by statistics, we would say one in four knows somebody that is afflicted with addiction or has a family member afflicted with addiction," Golden said. "Addiction is touching everyone in our community, certainly it has been exasperated by the injection of fentanyl into the mix. Heroin and opioid prevention and education is of the utmost importance to public safety."
The Monmouth County HOPE One Mobile Unit is just one of several initiatives put into action by the MCSO/MCPO among others to help those battling an addiction find recovery but also clean drugs off the streets and eliminate temptation, even at home.
"We just did our National Drug Take Back Day in which we recover pounds and pounds and pounds of unused prescription medications," Golden said.
It's not just one day a year you can get rid of unused medications, take the time out now to clean out your cabinets.
"Please safely discard your prescription medications if you are not using them," Golden said.
For those in need of help, take the opportunity to meet with staff coming in every month with this Monmouth County HOPE One Mobile Unit.
"We always have a certified recovery specialist and a certified clinician on the truck that goes out and visits numerous sites in the county," Golden said.
The MCSO said that the HOPE One Mobile Unit will return to the Asbury Park Train Station on December 15 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm.
"This year alone, when you look at our statistics that we keep, we have serviced about just over 800 people in 2022 -- that's 800 contacts that we've made with the HOPE One engagements at 30 different locations around the county this year," Golden said. "We're really proud of the HOPE One initiative and we're touching people but more importantly, it's there to help people."