October 17, 2018 Media, Press Releases

Camden County Introduces County-Wide Service to Combat Opioid Crisis

SNJ Today
October 17, 2018

Camden County Freeholders and officials came together to introduce a new program into their court system to help combat the opioid crisis. The program, which is being modeled after a similar initiative in Gloucester Township, is being called Project Save.

“I don’t know a person in this room that would blame someone for having cancer, for having diabetes, for having heart disease, but somehow the narrative in this county still is that ‘it’s their fault.’ This is a disease of addiction,” said Congressman Donald Norcross.

During the announcement, a former client of the initial Gloucester Township Project Save Program spoke about her journey with addition.

“When I was about fifteen or sixteen I started out taking Percocets,” said Angel Nelke of Glassboro.

From there, Nelke’s addiction progressed to an addiction to heroin. She struggled for about six years until she ended up in jail.

“I relapsed again and it was way worse than before. I went back to jail and once I got out of jail I went to a recovery house in West Deptford and [have] been pretty good ever since,” said Nelke.

What was different this time was when Nelke was in court, she was introduced to an advocate – part of a program called Project S.A.V.E, Substance Abuse Visionary Effort.

“We’re not really fixing the problem by putting them behind bars,” said Camden County Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez. “What this gives us is an opportunity to fix the problem, which is the addiction itself. So, we divert individuals away from it, get them into the care that they need, and hopefully put them back on track.”
Officials from Camden County announced the expansion of Project Save on October 17th, offering early intervention by licensed social service professionals right in the municipal court system.