The Burlington County Commissioners have renewed a contract with Prevention is Key Inc. to continue to provide support services for individuals recovering from substance use disorder at the Burlington County Community Peer Recovery Center in Burlington City.
The Board voted unanimously last week to approve a one-year contract extension with the nonprofit provider to staff the Recovery Center through Sept. 30, 2024.
“Substance abuse is an illness and in Burlington County we’ve made it our mission to save lives and help those who are suffering with this condition access the support and resources they need to recover,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “Prevention is Key has been an outstanding partner and their work at our Peer Recovery Center in Burlington City is making our communities stronger by providing paths to recovery and reducing stigma surrounding substance use disorders.”
The Peer Recovery Center is located inside the City Hall building at 525 High Street in Burlington City and provides free support services for individuals from all recovery backgrounds. The Recovery Center also provides space for groups like Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous to meet and for residents in recovery to gather and receive training or engage in social and recreational activities. Those interactions can be crucial for individuals recovering from substance use disorders.
Since opening, more than 314 residents have received services at the Center and its staff and volunteers.
Prevention is Key staffs the Recovery Center on Tuesday and Thursdays and provides peer support and information about treatment programs and resources, including group meetings. The nonprofit also operates the County’s original Recovery Center at the Burlington County Human Services Building at 795 Woodlane Road in Westampton. That center opened in 2020 and provides the same kind of peer support services.
Funding for both Recovery Centers comes from a State Opioid Response grant awarded to Burlington County by the New Jersey Department of Human Services to aid with its response to the continuing opioid epidemic.
A total of 151 people died from suspected drug overdoses in Burlington County last year, down 7% from the 162 suspected drug deaths in 2021, according to data from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
The overdose antidote Naloxone (Narcan) was administered a total of 605 times in Burlington County in 2022, a 9% decrease from 2021.
The two Recovery Centers are part of Burlington County’s comprehensive response to the addiction crisis. Other actions taken by the Commissioners include the creation of a Regional Advisory Council to develop recommendations for disbursement of opioid settlement monies the County is expected to receive.
The Commissioners also passed a resolution in 2021 designating all of Burlington County to be stigma-free as part of a campaign to dispel misconceptions about substance use disorders and mental illness. By eliminating stigma, the Commissioners hope to encourage more people to seek treatment and recovery support.
Many of Burlington County’s municipal governments and school boards have now passed resolutions in support of the County’s initiative.
Burlington County has also received a $500,000 grant from the federal government to supply first responders, peer recovery coaches, school nurses and other school employees with Narcan kits and ensure they are trained on the proper use of the overdose antidote.
“Burlington County is fighting to beat back this epidemic, one life at a time. We’re making resources available and ensuring residents have access to help and that no one suffering from mental illness or substance abuse feels shame about their condition,” said Hopson. “Substance use disorder is a disease that can be beaten and Burlington County is providing help, support and hope to those who are battling it.”