The 17 regional coalitions selected to advance this programming will focus efforts on reducing rates of use and abuse among youth and adults across the state. It is estimated that one in nine New Jersey residents - about 1 million - are abusing prescription drugs or illegal substances. This includes youth, ages 12 through 18.
“Fighting alcohol and substance abuse, especially among youth, requires programs that are customized to their problems and needs,” Commissioner Velez said. “Utilizing regional coalitions will allow us to be more effective in changing social norms, attitudes and behavior that contribute to substance use and abuse.”
Several studies have shown that alcohol, marijuana and over-the-counter or prescription medications can be gateway drugs. They are cheap, readily available or accessible mood enhancers that can lead to experimentation with ‘harder’, more potent drugs, according to some studies.
The Department’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services received funding for the project from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant.
The coalitions must engage residents, local government, law enforcement, schools, nonprofit organizations, the faith community, youth and other key groups to work in tandem to
identify, collect, analyze, and assess data on regional problems and assess the region’s capacity to effectively address the identified problems.
Contracts ranging from $149,776 to $204,500 were awarded to:
• The Southwest Council, Inc. of Vineland, for Cumberland/Salem counties and one for Gloucester County
• Prevention First of Ocean for Monmouth County
• Barnabas Health Institute of West Orange for Ocean County
• Prevention Plus of Lumberton for Burlington County;
• Camden County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Use Inc. of Voorhees for Camden County;
• Hunterdon Prevention Resources of Flemington for Hunterdon County;
• Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction of Trenton for Mercer County;
• The Center for Prevention & Counseling in Newton for Sussex and Warren counties;
• Cape Assist in Wildwood for Cape May and Atlantic counties;
• The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources in Hackensack for Bergen County;
• Family Connections in Orange for Essex County;
• NCADD Hudson Partners In Prevention in Jersey City for Hudson County;
• NCADD Middlesex County, Inc. in East Brunswick for Middlesex County;
• William Paterson University in Wayne for Passaic County; and
• Prevention Links in Clark for Union County.
Two training contracts to support the coalitions were awarded to the Rutgers School of Social Work in New Brunswick ($150,000) and New Jersey Prevention Network in Lakewood ($200,000).
For more information on prevention programs, go to http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/das/prevention/.