Concerns Over Drug Use In 55+ Community

A trustee at The Villages asked local officials to help provide increased police presence in the neighborhood. (Photo by Sara Grillo)

HOWELL – The ways a nationwide drug abuse epidemic is manifesting locally extend into senior communities, residents said.

One resident of The Villages, a 55 and over community in Howell, said they see an ongoing drug abuse problem in the neighborhood, and hopes the police can assist.

Reeve Apgar, Safety & Environmental Trustee for The Villages, spoke out about the “ongoing” drug abuse problem at the December 12 township council meeting.

“I’d like to get a police car there for an hour or two a week to monitor the traffic and the speeding in the area, and also at night to have police control at random times to see if we can get some coverage on this drug abuse problem in The Villages,” said Apgar.

(Photo by Sara Grillo)

Mayor William Gotto suggested Apgar set up a meeting with the police chief to identify the issues and find the best path to assistance.

Signs of an ongoing drug issue are echoed by citizens and can be seen on the blog My Home in The Villages, started by residents in the community, who wrote of issues seeing drug paraphernalia in the trash, and other quality of life issues.

Homeowners in The Villages are residents of Howell Township, located on the border of neighboring Freehold Township.

Howell has a crime suppression unit, formed in 2014, and according to the police website, the unit is made up of five officers and “addresses street-level crimes with a strong emphasis on narcotics enforcement within the township.”

A recent report on the Howell Police Crime Suppression Unit’s website that ranks the top 10 arresting municipalities in Monmouth County puts Howell in third place, behind only Asbury Park and Neptune, with 806 drug-related arrests between January 2015 and June 2016.

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Sara Grillo served as the Assistant News Editor/Writer at Micromedia Publications in 2017. She has lived in numerous areas within Monmouth and Ocean Counties for the past 9 years. Grillo studied Journalism and Communication Arts at Ramapo College and has held positions in Marketing, Public Relations and Sales prior to writing for Micromedia. She left in October of 2017 to pursue creative writing.