Ocean County prosecutor implements amnesty program for drug addicts

The Ocean County prosecutor says he won't file charges against drug addicts who wish to turn in their drugs and seek treatment.

Prosecutor Joseph Coronato says that addicts can come to the Brick Township and Manchester police departments to seek help.

"If they're willing to admit they have an issue, they can present themselves, they can go into this program and there is no charge for it," Coronato says.

Officials say the drug Narcan was used to save hundreds of people from overdosing in Ocean County last year.

Coronato says when addicts come to the police stations, they will need to identify themselves and fill out a questionnaire and then they will be given help. Once in treatment, addicts who turn themselves in will be matched with recovery coaches to help them succeed.

But Brick Township Police Chief John Riccio says that it is unlikely many drugs will be turned in at first.

"Initially people are probably going to be skeptical. You're going to have to overcome the mistrust of turning themselves in to the police department," Riccio says.

Prosecutor Coronato says he wants his department to take action to save people now, especially since there were more than 200 people who died of overdoses in the county the past year.

"We want to drill down so we can break the cycle of addiction," the prosecutor says.

So far only the Brick and Manchester police departments are in the program, but they will accept anyone who walks in.

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