History of NJ Cares


A Dashboard of Opioid-Related Data and Information

History of NJ CARES

>On February 22, 2018, former Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced the creation of a new office within the Office of the Attorney General dedicated to fighting the opioid epidemic. The Office of the New Jersey Coordinator of Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (“NJ CARES”) is charged with overseeing addiction-fighting efforts across the Department of Law and Public Safety (“DLPS”), and creating partnerships with other agencies and groups similarly committed to identifying and implementing solutions to the opioid crisis and drug addiction.

The DLPS, which includes the Division of Criminal Justice, the Division of Law, the Division of Consumer Affairs, including many health care and mental health care licensing boards, the Juvenile Justice Commission, the New Jersey State Police, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, the Division on Civil Rights, and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, has broad powers to fight the opioid crisis through regulation, enforcement, criminal prosecution, civil litigation, and administrative action.

NJ CARES has rolled out a series of new addiction-fighting programs, including an online portal providing the public with updates on overdose deaths and other addiction-related information, prescriber education courses, and law enforcement centered outreach programs, like Operation Helping Hand and Opioid Response Teams, and forged strategic alliances with like-minded stakeholders in both the public and private sectors across NJ.

Danielle LoRusso, retired Sergeant of Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office and Certified Peer Recovery Coach, has been a dedicated member of the NJ CARES team since 2019. In her role as the Southern Peer to Peer Learning Coordinator for the Operation Helping Hand program, she trains first responders and community stakeholders on understanding and addressing addiction, including de-escalation techniques and best practices for linkage to care. She also provides ongoing assistance to law enforcement agencies who are running Operation Helping Hand programs. Danielle is committed to ensuring that law enforcement have the proper tools needed to be the avenue by which individuals suffering from addiction enter treatment or recovery services. 

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