If before now there was any doubt that Hudson County Proesecutor Esther Suarez and state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal are serious about helping those addicted to drugs, that doubt should be wiped away forthwith.
Last week, Suarez announced a new program, “Operation Helping Hand,” that lauched Jan. 24 in Jersey City. It is believed that at some point, it will be offered throughout the rest of Hudson County.
Under certain circumstances, when someone is arrested for possession of narcotics, they will be offered an opportunity to get some sort of help, whether it’s immediately entering a detox program at the Hudson County Jail or some other kind of drug-treatment assistance.
In some cases, if a person agrees to treatment, and successfully completes it, their drug history could be expunged, completely, from their criminal record.
In all cases, the addicts must still first face the charges that caused them to be in position for help in the first place. But it also means it’s possible that since the suspects are, in fact, suffering from a disease, they can get the help they so desparately need and it is possible for them to turn their lives around.
This is, of course, not the be-all and end-all. And it appears it’s not going to be offered to every kind of offender, rightfully, especially those who distribute drugs. But this is exactly what low-level offenders (addicts) need. There simply isn’t enough resources out there to help them now. (At least affordably.)
This program is a tremendous new resource and it is our hope that it expands to West Hudson much sooner than later.
We applaud Prosecutor Suarez and Attorney General Grewal for taking the initiative to offer “Operation Helping Hand.”
And we very much look forward to learning of its positive effects on those who would otherwise have no other way to get the dire help they need.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.