C.L.E.A.R. celebrates third anniversary with luncheon at Mohawk House
By Mandy Coriston
The Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery (C.L.E.A.R.) program spearheaded by the Center for Prevention’s Becky Carlson and Newton Chief of Police Mike Richards, celebrated its third anniversary with a luncheon held Tues, Sept. 10, 2019 at the Mohawk House in Sparta. Guests included C.L.E.A.R. employees and volunteers, members of local law enforcement, and representatives of state and federal government; U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill’s (D-11) office sent a declaration commending the program on its efforts and congratulating them on their anniversary.
The luncheon provided a venue for C.L.E.A.R. to discuss its work in the community and unveil their statistics for the past year, as well as present awards recognizing outstanding effort, and hear from guests working in the field of drug enforcement and the treatment of substance use.
Christopher Jakim, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the New Jersey Division of the DEA, praised the C.L.E.A.R. program for its progress in just a few short years in existence.
“You are a smaller county, but you are doing mighty work,” Jakim said. “It’s amazing. The opioid epidemic we’re seeing is uncharted territory. We all have to learn how to bring together the data, personnel, and funding to fight it, and you’ve really brought that together here. Every town and county should be doing what you’re doing. We all need to get as far upstream of the problem as possible, and looking at your program, it’s obvious you’re taking action.”
C.L.E.A.R. is a non-profit program that takes a multi-faceted approach to providing people with substance use disorders the resources they need to begin the road to recovery. Those in need of help can go to a participating police station in Sussex County during business hours and ask for assistance. The program also sends recovery coaches to be bedside when someone has suffered an overdose. Anyone looking for aid from the C.L.E.A.R. program should be aware that they can ask to be admitted to the C.L.E.A.R. program without fear of stigma, arrest, or immediate legal repercussions.
C.L.E.A.R. recovery coach Katie Calvacca delivered the program’s prior year statistics to attendees, including this startling piece of data: From July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, C.L.E.A.R. recovery coaches responded to 663 calls for assistance to 589 individuals, 447 of whom asked for information, and 209 of whom were directly linked to services.
“We’re also participating in Operation Helping Hand, which will allow us to provide more targeted support," said Calvacca. "Everything we do is planting seeds, and we are tending to the soil of our community.”
This year’s C.L.E.A.R. Shining Stars awards went to Sussex County Prosecutor Francis Koch, recovery coach Lucy Katzen, Dr. Laura Guancione, Tony Cerbo of Cerbo’s Nursery, and Mohawk House owner Steve Scro for their efforts in support of C.L.E.A.R. and the community.
“It’s important to be an advocate,” Scro said, “This luncheon was very special to me, because I was always taught ‘you don’t see through people, you see people through.'"
Sussex County Director Becky Carlson is grateful for the support.
“We can’t do this without our Sussex County community and businesses,” she said. “They’re all instrumental in making this program work.”
Chief Richards encourages all residents to read the program’s full annual report ( )and wants to emphasize how CLEAR not only helps those dealing with substance use disorders, but also others around them.
“We intend to make connections with employers around Sussex County,” Richards said, “because we can help when their employees are struggling. Businesses thrive when their employees thrive. Everyone benefits when we help someone with addiction.”For more information on Sussex County C.L.E.A.R., visit www.clearprogram.org or call 1(844)SC-CLEAR.