Help is on the way: Free addiction program offered weekly at Deptford police station

The Deptford Township Police Department is located next to the Municipal Building at 1011 Cooper St. (KRISTEN DOWD/The Sun)

Finding help with addiction is now easier in Deptford.

The township’s police department partnered in October with the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office to create the Straight to Treatment program, which provides immediate treatment for people who struggle with addiction. The free program is presented every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at police headquarters, 1011 Cooper St.

“What we do is, we allocate those four hours, have a drug counselor on hand. His name is Dan (Belton), he’ll speak to people and do paperwork,” said officer and liaison to the program Adam Ziegler. “They have a one-on-one with Dan.”

In Good Samaritan fashion, the program’s mantra is, “No questions, no stigma, just help!”  According to Ziegler, that is crucial.

“People are afraid to walk up to a police officer in fear they might have drugs on them or a pending warrant that would keep them,” he explained. It’s a judgment-free zone. I’m there to do my best to get them relieved of any charges. I can help them reschedule court dates until they get out of treatment. If they have traffic warrants, we can get them a new court date.

“I feel the program has been very successful and every client that has spoken to myself and Dan are very satisfied,” Ziegler added. “Everyone that came in received the treatment they needed and were placed soon after coming in.”

Ziegler said the program averages about one person a week, and part of what makes it so efficient is Belton’s knowledge of the recovery process and his ability to cut through the proverbial red tape.

“This program seems to be more streamlined than somebody who may have to worry about finding assistance on their own,” Ziegler noted. “With numerous calls, getting rides there and paperwork, most of the stuff is done in 20 minutes because of Dan.”

Ziegler acknowledged rehabilitation facilities in surrounding towns like Woodbury and Washington Township, but said their beds are at a premium and the next closest availability   could be as far as Bridgeton or Hammonton.

“We’re not here to judge, we’re here to help,” Ziegler emphasized. “They come in voluntarily, they recognize something in their life has told them now is the time to get help. We’re here to lend assistance to them on an immediate basis.”

“On Tuesday from 10 to 2, that’s my job. They get one-on-one with me.”

For more information, visit the Deptford police department’s Facebook page and the township website. Contact the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office or call (856) 345-1458 to speak to a rehabilitation specialist.