AG Platkin and the New Jersey State Police Announce $800,000 in Federal Grant Funding to Expand Operation Helping Hand to Aid Those Battling Substance Use Disorders

NJSP offers more opportunities to promote personal recovery and help heal families and communities touched by addiction

For Immediate Release: June 26, 2023

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
New Jersey State Police
– Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent

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Media Inquiries-
Mariluz Diaz

TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and New Jersey State Police (NJSP) Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan today announced a significant expansion of resources and support to aid individuals battling substance use disorder (SUD). After receiving seed money from the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (NJ CARES) to launch its own Operation Helping Hand (OHH) initiative known as Operation RISE (Recovery, Initiative, Support, and Engagement), the Office of Drug Monitoring and Analysis (ODMA) at the NJSP will now expand the RISE Program with $800,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Since 2018, the Office of the Attorney General through NJ CARES has led an initiative known as Operation Helping Hand, a program in which law enforcement officers proactively connect individuals suffering from SUD with treatment and/or recovery support services. Operation RISE is the newest expansion of the Department’s OHH program. Currently, OHH programs are operational in all 21 counties, N.J. Transit, and the Division of Criminal Justice. Since early 2023, NJSP, through Operation RISE, began collaborating with existing OHH outreach efforts to ensure the efficient deployment of resources to areas that are most in need of assistance and intervention. This coordinated approach maximizes the impact of combined efforts and promotes a more effective response to the challenges posed by drug addiction.

“Every individual battling a substance use disorder deserves access to compassionate, equitable, and comprehensive evidence-based addiction treatment services,” said Attorney General Platkin. “By providing multifaceted treatment options and support, we can empower individuals to reclaim their lives, heal their communities, and build a future of lasting recovery.”

Since its commencement in January 2023, the pilot program operating from the NJSP Bellmawr Barracks has been serving residents. Through a combination of trooper interactions and outreach events, the dedicated RISE team has successfully engaged with over 169 individuals. Notably, among these interactions, 50 individuals struggling with SUD have willingly embraced the offered support services. The program has also extended assistance to nine families affected by SUD who have accepted the services provided. Recognizing the importance of holistic care, three clients have been connected with mental health and social services support through referrals made by the RISE team.

“As part of Operation Helping Hand, a national model for law enforcement assisting those affected by substance use disorder, the New Jersey State Police is expanding its efforts and will reach more people with these new funds,” said Colonel Callahan. “Our initial success is encouraging and lays the foundation for the expansion that will be possible with the addition of these new funds. Together, we aim to provide vital support, reduce barriers to treatment, and empower individuals on their journey toward a better, safer, and healthier life.”

“NJ CARES is proud to partner with the New Jersey State Police to expand the Operation Helping Hand program to New Jersey State troopers, opening up more opportunities for law enforcement to be the gateway by which individuals believed to have a substance use disorder may enter treatment and/or recovery services,” said Kelly Levy, Acting Director of NJ CARES. “Since 2018, law enforcement involved in Operation Helping Hand programs have encountered over 15,000 people with an indicia of substance use disorder and offered to connect them to services. With the support of state and federal funding, more resources will be made available to our communities, thanks to New Jersey State Police, to further the Department’s linkage to care efforts for those suffering from the disease of addiction.”

These funds will expand the initiative to Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties. NJSP also has the opportunity to apply to receive up to $800,000 each year for the next three years (totaling up to $3.2 million) to expand the program statewide. This funding will be instrumental in implementing a comprehensive and collaborative strategy to mitigate the effects of drug harm within communities.

Operation RISE utilizes law enforcement participation and the help of trained RISE advocates to seek out and connect those at risk of overdose to appropriate services and uses community education forums to actively engage and educate communities in areas with high drug demand. RISE aims to achieve multiple objectives. First, it seeks to raise awareness about the prevailing drug environment, emphasizing the risks and consequences associated with substance use disorders. RISE also strives to provide comprehensive education on available treatment and recovery options to empower individuals to seek help and support. Finally, the program aims to enhance access to naloxone, a life-saving medication for opioid overdoses, within the community.

Earlier this month, the Attorney General’s Office announced State funding opportunities supported by the SFY2023 and 2024 Budgets that are available to all 21 county prosecutor’s offices and N.J. Transit to continue their OHH programs after August 31, 2023.

Those grant announcements may be found at: