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Blue Cares: Middlesex County Municipal Courts Implement Care-Based Approach to Addiction-Related Offenses

In light of the ongoing opioid crisis, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office developed a new approach to addiction-related cases, the Blue Cares program. This is a two part program creating a new municipal drug court program and enacting a set of precautionary measures. After facing criminal charges, people suffering from the disease of addiction are given a chance to work with a Recovery Coach and receive treatment before the final outcome of their case is determined. The towns of Woodbridge, North Brunswick, and most recently New Brunswick and Perth Amboy have been on the forefront of expanding addiction treatment services by taking advantage of the funds made available to the county. The Blue Cares program developers are currently working to implement this program in all other Middlesex County municipalities.

Municipal prosecutors in Woodbridge, North Brunswick, New Brunswick, and Perth Amboy received instructions to consider a defendant’s affliction and implement more favorable outcomes to those who actively participate in the program. While the final decision is up to the prosecutors, these new guidelines allow for reduction of the original charges faced by offenders, and even include the possibility for total dismissal. On a specifically scheduled court date each month, all drug-related offenders will be brought in to meet with a Blue Cares officer and a recovery coach to work out a treatment plan. If the defendant decides to accept this treatment, then their case will not be heard until the program is completed.

Besides the new municipal drug court procedures, Blue Cares also established preventative treatment programs in order to get people help before they are caught in the criminal justice system. These new initiatives include a 24-hour hotline and app that allows individuals to access immediate support from a peer recovery coach whenever they may need it. The hotline can be reached at 732-596-4199, and the Blue Cares app is available for download through the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app includes resources for local addiction treatment options as well as live chat with a recovery coach, also available 24/7.

The Blue Cares program is funded by the state-wide Operation Helping Hands (OHH). Established in 2018 with the help of the Department of Health, the OHH grant aims to help counties play a more active role in battling the opioid crisis by having law enforcement officers reach out to those who are in need of treatment. This program set the blueprint for all counties in New Jersey to develop their own collaboration efforts between law enforcement, prosecutors, and mental health professionals to identify those in need and provide effective recovery services.

The Law Offices of Eric B. Morrell will work collaboratively with Blue Cares, and when appropriate will help as many clients as possible to enroll and succeed in the new program. This program provides a great opportunity for those suffering from addiction to receive meaningful treatment for their disease, while either avoiding a criminal record or reducing the charges. Our offices have already enrolled some of our clients in this program with positive outcomes. We believe it is important to fight the crippling disease of addiction by providing this support and giving people the chance to receive treatment before the court reaches a verdict. Our offices have a long and successful history of getting reduced and dismissed charges for those accused of possession and other drug-related offenses. If you are facing any drug-related charges or have a record of such charges and desire an expungement, please contact our offices for a consultation.

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  • New Brunswick Office
    142 Livingston Avenue
    New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
    Phone: 732-249-9933
    Fax: 732-249-9934