BRICK — Drug addicts in Ocean County have another opportunity to get help without fear of prosecution on Thursday.

The Heroin Addiction Response Program (HARP) is a program introduced in January that allows substance abusers to turn themselves in, along with their stash, and to receive help from a treatment program at no cost. Those in need of help can come to the Brick Police Department headquarters on Chambers Bridge Road between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday.

OxyContin pills (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Ocean County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Al Della Fave said at least 30 people have sought help at Manchester police headquarters, where the program has been available for the past several Wednesdays.

"In the five weeks the program has been running in Brick and Manchester 62 individuals seeking help have been admitted and over 90% are treatment facility scholarships due to a lack of insurance," Della Fave said.

Preferred Behavorial Health of Lakewood and Integrity House of Toms River are part of the program, and Della Fave said more treatment facilities, including Malvern House in Pennsylvania, are looking to become involved.

"We've been involved with (drug addiction) for over three years," he said. "During that time we've developed a huge network of treatment facilities that are willing to help. And they're making beds available to us. Our nightmare is that once other counties see that our program is working, then they're going to spin off copycat programs and the competition for beds will become fierce. But for now we're the only ones offering this type of program."

Della Fave said Ocean County residents will get priority, but that no one will seeking help will be turned away. He said the county has received inquiries from a wide area, including one request from out-of-state to bring a busload of people.

"We won't turn anyone away. We look into each situation and we do what we can to help," Della Fave said, adding that more Ocean County police departments may participate in the future. "We have to walk before we can run. Just like we did with the Narcan, just like we did with recovery coaches and every other program we've rolled out."

Anyone in New Jersey needing help should call 844-REACH-NJ (844-732-2465).

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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