In their quest to reach people who need help with substance misuse in their own communities, The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources (also know as The Center) has been working in partnership with local police departments to set up community outreach pop-up sites in three towns in Bergen County. The outreach tables are staffed by The Center team to dispense information, links to resources, peer recovery support services, and Narcan. “Each town has different needs as far as outreach, but going there on a regular basis, meeting people and establishing a rapport goes a long way toward helping lead them to treatment options,” says Jessica Fernandez, The Center’s Director of Recovery Supports.
The Center’s immediate objective is to provide eight Bergen County communities with information and Narcan distribution sites on a recurring basis. As of now they are in three communities, with tables set up in the vestibule of the ShopRite in Lodi, outside a McDonald’s in Englewood, and the Walmart in Garfield, areas where they feel they can reach the widest number of people. Recovery Support Specialists are stationed at the table as well as a non-uniformed police officer. “We work closely with police departments because they see daily where these needs have to be met,” says Jessica. “And it’s important for people to see that we are all working together to help them.”
Oftentimes just getting the information for a family member or friend has helped lead them to treatment. Recent examples in Lodi include a woman who approached support staff at their table telling them she had a neighbor who had a problem, reached her on the phone and let her talk directly to one of our Recovery Support Specialists. This led to her coming in that day and speaking to them in person about treatment options. Another day a mother reached out to The Center about how her son could receive support, but she didn’t have transportation to The Center’s office in Fair Lawn. She was told The Center would be coming to Lodi that week, she brought her son to the pop-up site, he agreed to recovery support services and she was given Narcan and educated on its use. “Our goal is to eliminate barriers,” says Jessica. “So if that means meeting them in their own communities, in places where they live, to educate and offer help, that’s what we will do.”