November 19, 2015

clear-postWe held the first meeting at the Newton Police Department with a group of concerned community stakeholders to address recovery support for those addicted to opiates and in need of services and treatment in our county. Each person in attendance was invited due to their expertise, their role in the community and their concern in regards to the growing opioid addiction epidemic being seen throughout New Jersey and in our “own backyard.” Our first meeting had 17 people at the table, including our County Prosecutor, our Chief of Police, local hospital and county administrators, local government officials, treatment agencies, people in recovery and other key stakeholders. We believe that everyone who in attendance will help make significant contributions to this innovative program’s success. We determined to refer to this initiative as C.L.E.A.R, which stands for Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery. The name was an idea suggested by Newton Police Chief Mike Richards, which the group unanimously agreed to be a good fit for the work we are trying to accomplish. Since that first meeting, much progress has occurred and we are now working to offer people a place to seek assistance for treatment of their addiction along with providing recovery supports for those desiring to address their substance use disorder.

March 11, 2016

We held a press conference in front of the Newton municipal building to officially announce the program to the public.  Chief Michael Richards read the mission statement and described how a new collaborative approach will be more effective in solving a complicated problem.  Prosecutor Francis Koch spoke about the number of overdoses in Sussex County and how this program will give people a new start in seeking recovery.  Clinical Director for the Center for Prevention and Counseling, Rachel Wallace, gave an overview of the national proportions of the opioid epidemic and Executive Director Becky Carlson explained that a community problem needs a community solution.  Joseph DiPaolo, president of Newton Medical Center, said that the hospital, which contributed $7500, was very excited to be a part of the program as well.  The press conferenced concluded with a request for help from volunteers.

May 21, 2016

coachesOur team of volunteers started the CCAR Recovery Coach Academy©.  A number of applicants had been interviewed and selected to serve as peer and family recovery coaches within the program.  The 30 hour training and certification process was the start to preparing our coaches for assisting future participants.  We bonded as a group, learned our roles and how to effectively use our lived experience in helping others.


July 18, 2016

Newton_NJ_Municipal_Building_Trinity_StreetThe doors of the Newton Police Department opened at 8 a.m. to offer assistance to anyone seeking help.  In the eight months since the inception of C.L.E.A.R. our steering committee was hard at work preparing to start the program.  A team of volunteer recovery coaches was established and certified to provided support to both those living with addiction and their family members.  Newton PD and the Prosecutor’s Office created the policy and procedures, and the Officers were trained to handle walk-ins.  The first participant came in a few days later.


March 29, 2017

The first anniversary press conference of the announcement of C.L.E.A.R. took place at the Newton Municipal Building to recognize the partners and volunteers involved. Newton Medical Center, Minisink Press, the New Jersey Herald, and Seabrook House rehabilitation center in Cumberland County were honored for their support. Also in attendance were representatives for Governor Christie, Congressman Josh Gottheimer and Senator Robert Menendez. State Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space and Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus all attended the event. An overview of the impact that C.L.E.A.R. has made and plans to expand the program were announced.

April 30, 2017

Recovery Coaches Annmarie Shafer and Katie Calvacca of the Center for Prevention and Counseling travelled to Connecticut to became CCAR Recovery Coach Academy© facilitators. They each participated in the 30-hour training with an additional 10 hours of train-the-trainer. The week long retreat was an enriching experience of everything recovery that prepared them to train more volunteers for the C.L.E.A.R. Program.

June 30, 2017

Ten new volunteer Recovery Coaches completed our first in-house CCAR Recovery Coach Academy©. The training began the first weekend in June with a combination of people in long-term recovery from addiction and people with lived experience affected by another’s addiction. The group brought a wealth of experiential knowledge to the collaborative learning environment and sharpened their skills to best help others.


July 27, 2017

Newton Medical Center hosted a breakfast in commemoration of the first anniversary of the C.L.E.A.R. Program. Newton Police Department was recognized for their leadership in innovative, community policing and Recovery Coaches shared the outcomes of the program’s first year. Click here to see the First Annual Report.


 November 2017

Six additional police departments from across Sussex County have joined Newton to become intake points for the C.L.E.A.R. Program. Training was provided in September to officers from Andover, Byram, Hardyston, Franklin, Sparta and Vernon Police Departments, and throughout the month of October, policies and procedures were implemented in each location to make them ready to perform intakes for potential C.L.E.A.R. Program participants. Sussex County residents can now walk into the nearest participating police department without fear of arrest or prosecution to seek help for opioid use disorder.

 February 2018

Sixteen volunteers became trained Recovery Coaches, ready to assist people families with addiction in Sussex County. The Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) 30-hour Recovery Coach Academy© was facilitated by the Center for Prevention and Counseling with donations from TJ’s Pizza of Franklin, Yetter’s Diner, Delphi Behavioral Health and Sunrise House.


July 20, 2018

Image result for clear program attorney general grewal francis kochA second anniversary celebration was hosted at Newton Medical Center with special guest, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. Founding partners shared updates on program expansion and Recovery Coaches shared the outcomes of the program’s first year. Click here to see the Second Annual Report.