(Gloucester Township, NJ) – In February, the Camden County Office of Mental Health and Addiction announced a new harm reduction program which would have Fentanyl test strip kits distributed throughout the community to reduce overdoses and accidental deaths. In the months since, COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges communities were already facing as it relates to substance use.
The Office of Mental Health and Addiction is now seeking to further the program’s reach, and to gauge how residents can benefit from access to these preventative kits.
“Fentanyl poses a unique risk because it is so deadly, but it is often ingested unknowingly after making its way into other drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. “We believe we can reduce overdoses if we give folks the chance to test for that dangerous substance before it’s too late. We ultimately want to help get them treatment and on the path to recovery, but we also want to eliminate needless deaths that occur before that process can begin.”
The Office is seeking members of the public who are interested in participating, as well as continuing to distribute the testing kits through existing channels.
If you, or someone you know, are a Camden County resident who has a substance opiate use disorder, please contact the Office of Mental Health and Addiction by calling (856) 374-6361. Participants will complete a brief survey and have the testing strip kits mailed to them. A follow-up survey will be conducted on their experience using the kits at a later date.
“We knew when the coronavirus reached Camden County that it would worsen existing challenges within our communities. We knew this would affect substance use, poverty, food security, and other problems that we have been working to combat,” Cappelli said. “Resources are still available as we navigate this crisis. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder or are suffering from anxiety or depression because of someone’s substance use, we are still here to help.”
There have already been 39 overdose fatalities in Camden County this year. Police and EMS have had to administer naloxone more than 1060 times.
We know that treatment works. If you, or someone you know, are battling addiction, please contact (877) 266-8222 for help.
For any assistance related to Camden County’s Office of Mental Health and Addiction and its programs, call (856) 374-6320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.