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Ocean County's First Drug Detox Facility to Open in Toms River

38 bed facility to open in Toms River within weeks

Ocean County's First Drug Detox Facility to Open in Toms River
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato's weapons in the war against heroin at the Shore have included everything from prescription pill disposal bins, to drug searches at high schools, to charging drug dealers in the deaths of their customers.

Soon there will be a new weapon: treatment for addicts.

Ocean County's first drug detox facility will open up in a brightly-colored building on Whitesville Road in Toms River later this month, as soon as it receives final state approval.

"We’re trying everything possible to turn things around," said Al Della Fave of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. "One thing we know definitively, and one thing we don’t have a control over, is a lack of rehab centers."

Officials are hoping a new, privately-owned detox center, where patients usually stay for five to seven days before being placed in a long-term rehabilitation facility, will be a key piece of the puzzle to getting help for those who are addicted.

"It’s not, ‘hey, come for detox, and thanks for coming,' said John F. Moriarty III, Director of Marketing for Sunrise Detox, the owner of the Whitesville Road facility.

The company has treated more than 25,000 patients at its only other New Jersey facility, located in Stirling, Morris County. In all, Mariarty said, about 85 percent of patients are ultimately placed in a long-term facility after coming to Sunrise, which will be licensed by the state as a 38 bed, sub-acute medical facility.

"It’s the first stage of getting help for someone who needs it," said Moriarty. "Unfortunately, there’s a stigma attached to addiction. People who come to our facilities are often professionals - schoolteachers, business people, even pilots. You’d be surprised. The reality is, addiction can happen to anyone."

Sunrise is "not a methadone clinic," said Moriarty. Clients are kept under 24 hour supervision with medical staff on premises 24 hours a day and clinical staff present for 15 hours a day.

"We just try to be very welcoming," he said.

While the facility will welcome its clients, such detox centers have faced opposition in communities nationwide, despite the need for their services. Toms River's facility is located in a commercial district, not in a residential neighborhood, and experts say those who do live nearby should not be worried about the center's presence.

"These are not a bunch of criminals," said Della Fave. "These are people who want to get help. It’s a critical step to get someone to say, 'okay, I’m done with this, I need help.'"

"The misconception is that there are going to be drug dealers, rapists, murderers there," said Tyler Gorman, president of Waters Edge Recovery, a long-term rehabilitation facility in Florida, and internationally known expert on addiction. "It’s not true, because it’s a supervised setting. The people who are there are people who want to be there."

Gorman has spent time in New Jersey recently after seeing an uptick in residents of his facility having come from Ocean County.

"Heroin is really hitting hard in your neck of the woods," he said. "We're seeing people coming in who are younger and younger."

Sunrise, the Toms River facility, expects to be open within the next several weeks. The facility accepts major insurance carriers' policies and also offers scholarships and discounts on a case-by-case basis, Moriarty said. Daily fees otherwise run approximately $1,700.

With eight deaths already having been attributed to heroin just a few weeks into 2014, officials are hoping the presence of a detox center can help stem the tide of death, which claimed 112 lives in 2013.

"For those who are sick, jail is not the answer," Della Fave said.

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For more information on Sunrise Detox, visit the company's website.

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