News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners
Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director Ÿ Doug Singleterry, Commissioner Deputy Director
Sara Sooy, Commissioner Ÿ Melonie Marano, Commissioner Ÿ Paul M. Drake, Commissioner
For Immediate Release
May 23, 2023
Somerset County Seeks Public Input for Use of Opioid Settlement Funds to Help Communities Enhance Recovery, Prevention, and Treatment of Addiction
SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerset County Human Services Department is seeking public input into the use of national opioid settlement funds that are intended to help communities recover from the opioid addiction crisis across the country. The county expects to receive at least $450,000 every year for the next 18 years.
“Funds must be used towards helping residents who have been directly or indirectly impacted by the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic,” said Somerset County Department of Human Services Addiction Services Director, Lisa Federico. “These uses include enhancing treatment, expanding harm reduction efforts, supporting recovery, and connecting people to the care they need.”
This month, the Somerset County Human Services Department launched an online survey seeking input from people who live or work in Somerset County as to how these funds can be most helpful for treating substance use disorders and promoting recovery. Interested individuals can take the survey by clicking here.
“Public responses to this survey will help guide Somerset County in designing programs to address the substance use problems that are linked to the opioid crisis,” said Somerset County Commissioner Paul M. Drake, liaison to the human services department.
Somerset County is among the first in the state to begin using its share of the national opioid settlement funds, with new programs designed to increase public access to prevention and treatment services.
Navigation Assistance to Programs and Services
The Opioid Settlement Funds have been used to hire a Behavioral Health System Navigator to help residents find the support they need. People can contact Behavioral Health System Navigator Stephanie Billitz, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 908-203-6130.
Mobile Outreach Van
During Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the county’s Human Services Department began its mobile outreach with the new Somerset HELPS mobile outreach van, which brings services directly to underserved neighborhoods and county and municipal events.
The van operates as a mobile human services hub that travels throughout Somerset County. The van has a food pantry, free books and giveaways. Bilingual social workers and other professionals will be available to provide information, resources, and referrals to services and assistance with applications to safety-net programs.
“Somerset HELPS” Mobile Van Outreach Schedule
June 3, 8 to 11 a.m., Hillsborough Municipal Complex, 379 South Branch Road.
June 24, 1 to 5 p.m., Franklin Youth Center, 429 Lewis St., Somerset.
For more information, contact Planning Administrator Zach Berliner at 908-704-6300 or email ZBerliner@co.somerset.nj.us.
Opioid Settlement Fund Survey
The Somerset County Department of Human Services and the County Opiate Advisory Council are seeking public input about how the county should use the Opioid Settlement Funds. To take the survey, click here.
Somerset County Human Services Department
The Human Services Department is responsible for the administration and supervision of all divisions within the department as well as various councils and advisory committees, which help promote the social well-being of county residents.
To stay up-to-date with Somerset County events and information, sign up for free email alerts at www.co.somerset.nj.us/subscribe or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
# # #