Prevention is Key selected to develop and implement LEAD Initiative in Irvington and Phillipsburg

Rockaway, N.J. (January 6, 2023) – The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General has selected Prevention is Key (PIK) to develop and implement a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion initiative (LEAD) in two New Jersey communities, Irvington, and Phillipsburg.

LEAD is a collaborative model intended to promote relationships that allow law enforcement, social service providers, public defenders, and prosecutors to create new and more effective approaches to working together on low-level criminal conduct. LEAD aims to properly identify persons involved with the criminal justice system who have substance use disorders (SUD) and other behavioral health needs and engage those persons with therapeutic interventions and other services.

The Attorney General’s Office issued a call for proposals seeking out the most qualified organizations to develop and implement the LEAD program in six sites designated by the Department of Law and Public Safety, including Irvington and Phillipsburg. This competitive process ensures that the most qualified organizations in each community will be selected to implement the program, which includes generous funding for program needs. PIK has extensive experience coordinating and providing services to individuals with SUD and/or mental health disorders. With a proven track record of assisting individuals find a pathway of recovery while embracing harm reduction principles, working with law enforcement, and addressing stigma and institutionalized bias, the agency is uniquely qualified to implement LEAD. 

PIK has long understood Attorney General Platkin’s belief “that no state can arrest its way out of a public health crisis, i.e., the opioid epidemic”, and so is anxious to implement LEAD sites in Phillipsburg and Irvington, strategizing to bridge the gap between law enforcement and community. PIK will introduce LEAD projects in Phillipsburg and Irvington to establish a new system of response and care for people who live with unmanaged behavioral health needs, deep experiences of complex trauma, cognitive disabilities, persistent poverty, and often lifetime experiences of punishment, failure, betrayal, and marginalization. LEAD will build “a supportive off-ramp from the criminal legal system into long-term, community-based harm reduction case management”. PIK will work with the LEAD National Support Bureau for ongoing technical assistance.

“This project marks a groundbreaking expansion of our services in New Jersey,” shared PIK’s Executive Director, Christopher Goeke, “Our philosophy has always been to disrupt the status quo and find ways to do more to help those in need. This is a remarkable continuation of that work. Everything we do is rooted in our mission and our commitment to help every person, every day. We are looking forward to this partnership.”

To learn more about the project and the work of Prevention is Key visit or email

About Prevention Is Key Prevention is Key (PIK) is a 501(c)3 organization that has successfully delivered culturally competent, evidence-based prevention services in Morris County and the surrounding counties for over 30 years. The agency was founded in 1989 to coordinate substance misuse prevention in Morris County.  From our roots as a resource center to our current implementation of both direct service and environmental change strategies, including the Center for Addiction Recovery and Success (CARES) Peer to Peer Recovery Center, PIK has grown to be the premiere substance misuse prevention agency in north central New Jersey. For more information visit