Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Where the Recovery Community Stands in the Obama Administration

What does the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America mean for the recovery community and the issues we support? What kind of effect will the state of the economy have on the priorities of the incoming Obama administration and on the goals of the new Congress? These are all valid questions worth following in the coming weeks, months and years.

Where does the recovery community stand? As many of you know, the ‘Paul Wellstone/Pete Domenici Parity Bill’ was attached to the ‘Financial Bailout Bill’ Congress passed earlier this fall and the President signed. It was a major victory for our community and the many people who need help, but what now? How will the Obama administration implement the law? Will the Obama administration be friendlier to the recovery community in terms of funding and support programs? It seems as though ‘yes’ is the answer, but the economy and the fiscal crisis in general may have something to say about it and other new ideas President-elect Obama has.

Our country faces the possibility of losing our ‘AAA’ bond rating. This would significantly impair future spending, borrowing, and basically all types of commerce and economy. It does not take much to realize what it means for the recovery community and other groups and interests vying for funds and support. The government: federal, state, and local would have to begin serious prioritizing of where, how and when to spend money.

California, like many of the states, is battling a major revenue shortfall and a budget deficit. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a series of spending cuts coupled with tax increases, among them a temporary increase in the state sales tax and an increase in the alcohol tax: a nickel per drink on beer, wine and spirits. The increase in the alcohol tax would generate $878 million to combat budget woes. The political climate in California has been tepid towards any tax increases: the governor failed to garner any Republican support for his tax increase package over the summer. The silver lining in this proposal is some of the funds will be dedicated to alcohol related issues, according to the Marin Institute.

NCADD-NJ was at the forefront of a similar policy debate, here in New Jersey, in the spring of 2006. A strong grassroots movement, the Just a Nickel campaign, was instituted to advocate for raising New Jersey’s alcohol tax to raise revenue for treatment and addiction services. This movement resulted in Governor Jon Corzine putting something more than “just a nickel” in his first budget. The Governor proposed a five cents per gallon increase on beer and a ten cents per gallon increase on wine and spirits. Ultimately, the proposal failed in the legislature, but the groundwork was laid for future endeavors.

Fast forward to today. A policy window for our issues has opened up in New Jersey. Recently, the New Jersey Senate held a hearing to look into the alcohol polices on New Jersey’s college campuses. Members of the Amethyst Initiative testified about their goals. College and university officials from across the state testified about their alcohol policies and the behaviors of their student bodies in relation to those policies.

The only thing we can be certain of as a community is that we are in a waiting game, much like the rest of the political community and America in general. As President-elect Obama formulates his cabinet and staff and as new members arrive on Capitol Hill, new policy ideas will be formulated along with new questions and the general unknown as to what will happen come January 20, 2009 and beyond.

How will the financial crisis be handled? How will the two-fronted war be resolved? Will an era of bipartisanship be ushered in like President-elect Obama campaigned for? These are questions we can ask ourselves in the coming months and years. But we do not have to sit on the sidelines and ponder this. We can be active in our local, state, and national arenas advocating and championing our causes. We can be the forefront for shaping the new American policy arena in this time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Delighted Diners

It was that time of year again: Gratitude Dinner for Friends of Addiction Recovery – New Jersey. After five consecutive years of celebrating our volunteers, it is still invigorating to do so. This year’s crowd included new leaders, a “friend” that became an employee of NCADD-NJ and the faithful that we depend on to carry the message of Friends. We were glad to entertain a group of 40 on November 22, 2008.
This year’s Recovery Month Recovery Cruise & Rally video captured Saturday, September 27 from New Jersey to New York and back to New Jersey. The film was well-received by the group. Ovations were given to those who were in the video from our group. It was good to know that one of our own, Mr. Rich Stabp was the National Delegate representing New Jersey at the New York event. We remain grateful to those who give of their time year-round to contribute to this valuable work.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Public Hearings: Stop the Incarceration Cycle


Upcoming "Counting the Cost" hearings will be examining the cycle of arrest, incarceration, reintegration & re-entry. New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman will host a series of public hearings aimed at the pervasive cycle of arrest, incarceration, release and re-incarceration and its impact on our economy, our families and our communities.

Schedule of Hearings

November 21, 2008
Middlesex County Hearing -"Families and Incarceration"
Date: November 21, 2008
Location: First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens
771 Somerset Street, Somerset
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Mercer County Hearing - "A Second Look at Sentencing."
December 8, 2008
Location: Shiloh Baptist Church
340 S. Howard Woodson Jr. Way, Trenton
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Essex County Hearing - "Training & Treatment"
December 11, 2008
Location: Rutgers University Newark- Paul Robeson Center
350 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. Newark
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

For more information, or to testify at one of the hearings listed. Please call (609) 292-0500

Monday, November 17, 2008

Video Documents Journey from Liberty State Park to Brooklyn Bridge and Back for Addiction Recovery Month

Supported by the Recovery Project and the A&E Network, this year's Recovery Cruise and Rally was extraordinary in a number of ways. Most obvious was the human bridge of recovery that spanned the Brooklyn Bridge and led into Manhattan. With the crowd of 5,000 and the spectacle of those many individuals acting in unison to demonstrate the strength of recovery, the Rally embodied the determined advocacy to have addiction accepted and treated as a disease. This video documents the journey including national, NYC metro and Friends of Addiction Recovery-New Jersey participants who made their way from Liberty State Park in Jersey City to the Brooklyn Bridge and back on Saturday, September 27, 2008.

See other highlights of the day

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rider has had one too many...

Another day, another news story about Rider University and its rowdy student body. This time the fireworks took place at an off campus party hosted by former members of the now defunct fraternity Zeta Beta Tau. But does it even matter? Do the details even matter? This time the police responded to an off campus event, the time before it was on campus, the time before that the same. Does it matter that a student was rushed to the hospital with a broken jaw, broken teeth and bleeding in the brain? When is enough, well, enough? As a current Rider student I wonder about this daily.

Does the school care there were around 150 students there, many of them drinking underage? Does the school care that over the last year and a half two students have died from drug and alcohol related incidents? I would hope yes, but in reality I have to say no. Sure the school made “changes.” They hired people to handle alcohol and drug related incidents. A “good Samaritan” policy was instituted to protect students when they seek medical attention for a friend who has had one too many. There is now more “university presence” in the Greek houses. They may advertise their anti-alcohol policies a little more, but nothing has really changed. I’m sorry if I sound caustic, bitter, or jaded, but the actions of these students and the subsequent responses from the University are a reflection of what I feel my Rider University degree will mean come this May, and what a degree from this so called institution of higher learning will mean for all students past and present.

Let me give you a perfect example. What do I hear when I walk into class on an average day? I hear fellow students talking about “how wasted they got the night before” or how “wicked” a party was. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the goal of higher education is not to master funneling beer or doing the most shots, it is to give you a well rounded education, concentrated on a core area. Students should be rewarded for working hard on and off campus. It should mean something to the University when students land prestigious internships or careers with Fortune 500 companies. The University should strive to foster an educational arena that isn’t competing with “Greek life” bacchanals. After all, Rider is an institution of higher learning.The campus mentality should not be “D for Degree.” Academics should be Rider University’s core focus. I have worked hard for the past three and half years to maintain a pretty respectable GPA. I have worked hard to become politically active and build a well-rounded rolodex. Not only that, but I have had a job during my entire Rider career to pay for my education. And what reward do I and my like-minded colleagues who strived to make themselves and Rider a better place get: news stories about drunken fights at house parties, blurbs in the Rider news about intoxicated guests becoming personas non grata, stories about drunken students driving across campus walkways, and repeated property damage which affects all students.

I strongly urge the administration at Rider to rethink current policy and to reprioritize and refocus the core mission of the University to make it more responsive to academic needs. Serious thought needs to be given to eliminating Greek life altogether. It may sound harsh, but there is a strong connection between the negative events that have transpired over the past year and a half and their activities on and off campus. Serious thought should be given to zero tolerance policies for violating existing alcohol and drug policies on campus.

Rider needs to do a lot to restore its academic integrity and I know that as a community, we can meet this challenge; however I do not want my degree from Rider to amount to a beer-soaked flyer announcing yet another keg party. I am sure the administration does not want such a reputation for the school. It is time school officials deal with this problem openly and firmly, that the university be known for the books and not the beer its student body consumes.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

New Drug in Schools

This is a new drug known as 'strawberry quick '.

There is a very scary thing going on in the schools right now that we all need to be aware of.

There is a type of crystal meth going around that looks like strawberry pop rocks (the candy that sizzles and 'pops' in your mouth). It also smells like strawberry and it is being handed out to kids in school yards. They are calling it strawberry meth or strawberry quick.

Kids are ingesting this thinking that it is candy and being rushed off to the hospital in dire condition. It also comes in chocolate, peanut butter, cola, cherry, grape and orange.

Please instruct your children not to accept candy from strangers and even not to accept candy that looks like this from a friend (who may have been given it and believed it is candy) and to take any that they may have to a teacher, principal, etc. immediately.

Pass this information on to as many people as you can (even if they don't have kids) so that we can raise awareness and hopefully prevent any tragedies from occurring.

More information at the Juvenile Justice Commission

Thursday, September 18, 2008

18 to Drink? College Presidents Stir the Pot

A surprisingly hot topic lately on college campuses, and in the halls of New Jersey’s State House has been the legal drinking age. Recently, a group of college and university presidents have banded together to form the “Amethyst Initiative,” which seeks to discuss the legal drinking age in the U.S. Three college presidents in New Jersey have signed onto the initiative. While the group has been harshly criticized for its subtle advocacy of lowering the drinking age to 18, it continues to foster discussion of alcohol policy on America’s college campuses and beyond.

New Jersey Senate President Dick Codey has been the vocal leader opposed to this movement in the state. He, along with State Senator Shirley Turner, sent letters to all of New Jersey’s institutions of higher education seeking copies of their current alcohol policies. Committee hearings are planned in the fall legislative sessions.

The blogosphere in recent weeks has been on both sides of the issue. Advocates for stricter alcohol policies have been out in full force, but so have others who would like to see a substantive policy debate. The age old argument of “if I’m old enough to die for my country in a war…” has resurfaced in this discussion, for better or worse.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Don't Miss Day of Celebration in Essex County

This Saturday, September 13, the Essex County Chapter of Friends of Addiction Recovery will host the 2nd annual Day of Celebration for Recovery. Starting off at 11:00 am in Irvington and sponsored in part by Irvington Mayor, Wayne Smith and the Irvington Municipal Alliance, the day will full of music and fun. Join community leaders, gospel choirs, praise dancers and other musicians in Orange Park.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Advocacy Leader Questions Candidates at Town Hall Meeting

August has been a successful month for the Recovery Voices Count campaign. Among other things, Recovery Voices Count seeks to bring addiction related issues to the attention of candidates for public office here in New Jersey and around the country by asking them a series of five questions.

On August 4, 2008, Advocacy Leader Carolyn Hadge attended a town hall meeting in Ocean County with U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer and Congressional candidate for New Jersey’s third district, Chris Myers; and again attended a town hall meeting with third district candidate John Adler on August 19. Ms. Hadge was able to ask a question in front of the crowd during the first meeting, comparing spending $40 billon per year on the ‘War on Drugs’ to the savings in Ocean County from “the Ocean County Drug Court and Intensive Supervision Program.” While unable to ask a public question in the Adler town hall, Hadge was able to corral him for a moment afterwards. Adler expressed his support for treatment over the ‘War on Drugs’, as well as having a good understanding and support for enacting parity legislation.

It should be noted that advocacy leaders in and around New Jersey’s two most competitive congressional districts, the 3rd and the 7th, are in the planning stages of holding town hall meetings to brings candidates together to discuss the important issues of the recovery community and to emphasize the growing voice of the recovery community on local, state, and national issues.

For more information, return to the NCADD-NJ Election Guide web page for updated news and events.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Talk Show Host Enlightens on Addiction Recovery

Talk show host Craig Ferguson speaks on his past problems as an alcoholic and gives a fresh perspective on recovery, handling the serious subject matter in an entertaining manner. He begins to speak about his recovery about 3 minutes into the video.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sober Siblings, How to Help your Alcoholic Brother or Sister -and Not Lose Yourself

I received a very nice postcard with a handwritten message today, and when it comes to direct mail, this is always a smart way to capture someone's attention. The clean and understated image of two cups of coffee with the title Sober Siblings, How to Help your Alcoholic Brother or Sister‑-and Not Lose Yourself intrigued me, and also happens to be audience appropriate. I was quite curious to go online and find out more about the book. Sober Siblings is written by New Jersey author, Patricia Olsen and is told through her personal experience, along with stories from other siblings of alcoholics, aided by the wisdom of addiction specialist Dr. Petros Levounis. Sober Siblings explores the effects of alcoholism on sibling relationships and offers practical advice on: the nature of alcoholism; feelings of shame, frustration, hopelessness, and anger; the difference between helping and enabling; setting and maintaining boundaries; co-addictions and dual diagnoses; pros and cons of family interventions; treatment options for your sibling and therapy options for you.

Hear Pat’s memories of a sobering childhood ( I found out Pat grew up in the area I live in today)

Read the Q&A

Order the Book

Monday, July 07, 2008

Real People, Real Recovery: Effectively Delivering Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care

In 2006, an estimated 22.6 million persons aged 12 or older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year. Of these, only 4.0 million received some kind of treatment for a problem related to the use of alcohol or illicit drugs. Luckily, a host of services exists for those who need them. From 12-step programs to in-patient and out-patient treatment, from recovery-oriented housing to sober recreational activities like those celebrated each September during Recovery Month, there's an entire network of treatment and support services available for those dealing with substance abuse and mental health disorders.

A Webcast program developed by the the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) examines some of those services, and explores ways to increase awareness and better deliver services to those who need them. Watch Webcast

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Day in Drug Court

Photo: Superior Court Judge Paul Armstrong, who presides over the drug court in Somerset County and is chairman of the Statewide Committee of Drug Court Judges, addresses the conference of the National Association for Drug Court Professionals after New Jersey was awarded the organization’s Leadership Award. Carol Venditto, statewide drug court manager, is to the left looking on.

I had the privilege of sharing Friends information with over 100 drug court participants back in May which was Drug Court month. I traveled to Cape May and Atlantic County Drug Courts to give presentations and was afforded a captive audience before they were to stand in front of the judge. I consider the work of Friends a great honor. As the judge said after my presentation, “We need all the Friends we can get,” and he thanked me for giving the presentation. Wow, a judge thanking me? I’ve only had experience with a judge fining me and then I take the checkbook to the window to pay. My life has changed too.

I knew I wasn’t going to stand before the judge but I still felt nervous being in the courtroom. Perhaps I need to stop ‘judging.’ To my surprise the judge was pleasant and showed genuine concern toward the drug court participants. It was an experience I will cherish. Recently, New Jersey Drug Courts were honored nationally by the National Association for Drug Courts. New Jersey even has a committee of Drug Court Judges. Kudos to all the drug court workers and participants!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Imprisoned By Addiction | Surviving the County Jail

A new memoir, Imprisoned By Addiction was written by Dennis Brew, a survivor of a 20 year battle with addiction. The book answers common questions the average citizen might have about the experience of being in jail due to addiction. He shares his real life experiences with overcoming a daily heroin and cocaine habit and the life of deceit and crime that is often the result of chronic drug use.

Topics such as committing the crime, getting caught red-handed, experiencing the horrors of heroin withdrawal, finding out what it's like to be a minority, gambling, the legal system, public defenders and much more are covered in the book. "The disease of addiction is a worldwide epidemic, everyone knows somebody affected by addiction" says Brew.

Read more about Dennis Brew

Friday, May 30, 2008

DUI Initiative Assists Poor with Access to Care

In 2005 the State of New Jersey set aside $7.5 million for the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) initiative to support the treatment of impoverished New Jersey residents convicted of driving while intoxicated. The fund is administered through the Department of Human Services, Division of Addiction Services/Intoxicated Driving Program (DAS/IDP) and covers the full range of care for addiction treatment.

Residents of New Jersey convicted of driving while intoxicated after October 17, 2000, are eligible to access these funds if they are determined to be financially eligible based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Drivers who were recently arrested for intoxicated driving also are considered eligible for the initiative provided they can verify their intoxicated driving arrest and meet the financial eligibility requirements.

The DAS/IDP staff involved with the DUII includes Ann Wanamaker, acting chief, IDP, and George Mladenetz, DUII coordinator,IDP, both of whom have extensive experience in the field of substance abuse. In its role as the DUII’s lead agency, NCADD-NJ is responsible for verifying client information, obligating DUII funding, paying DUII eligible providers for services rendered and reporting to the IDP and IDRCs on client activities. NCADD-NJ staff involved in the DUII include Maryann Diaz, DUII/ATR Program Manager, Steve Remley, the agency’s Director of Operations, Laura Videtti, Controller, and Rob Kocher, Director of Information Technology. Treatment providers can electronically submit client information for billing encumbrance, report progress, update services and bill for services. The transfer of funds for approved services provided is often accomplished within 24-48 hours.

“The experience that I have had, working on the DUI Initiative for the past 2 ½ years, has been both professionally and personally gratifying. I am continually impressed with the commitment the treatment providers in our network have made to this initiative. Their dedication to providing treatment services that were once not readily available to these clients is to be commended and it has been very rewarding to know that our combined efforts are truly making a difference in our communities,” says Maryann Diaz.

Questions regarding billing submissions and payments should be directed to Maryann Diaz at (609) 689-0599 x7019 or by email.

For more information about the Intoxicated Driving Program go to the Division of Addiction Services Web site.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


“I was appalled,” Lodi Mayor Karen Viscana said on hearing the news. Her reaction suggested she had learned of some recent calamity. Perhaps Mayor Viscana was reacting to the Myanmar government’s continued refusal to admit aid workers to the country to assist cyclone victims? But no, that was not it. She was not responding to a disaster on that scale or, for that matter, on any scale. What the mayor found so repellent was that the town’s zoning officer, Joel Lavin, had approved an application for a methadone clinic within the town.

The mayor was not alone in her umbrage. According to newspaper reports, more than a hundred residents packed two recent council meetings to demand his immediate ouster. Perhaps they wanted to exact a greater penalty for his transgression. After all, property values were sure to plummet and children and the senior residents would be exposed to people being treated for an addiction to drugs.

Mr. Lavin had explained his rationale for issuing a certificate of occupancy to Pathways to Health to operate an outpatient clinic for heroin addicts. The section of town in question, he noted, allows doctor and dentist offices, so it seemed clear to him that a facility treating patients with an addiction certainly would be an appropriate use. That line of reasoning appears sound enough. Or it would if addiction were truly understood and accepted as a disease.

Such understanding does not exist, not even close. The” appalling” act was promptly undone by the borough council. And not only did the governing body reverse Mr. Lavin’s use approval, it also suspended him and is reviewing whether to eliminate his position altogether. It seems that Lodi found the idea of treating addicts in its midst so revolting that it wanted to erase any trace of the episode.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Client-Directed, Outcome-Informed (CDOI) Treatment Conference

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-New Jersey (NCADD-NJ) serves as the lead agency of the Client-Directed, Outcome-Informed (CDOI) treatment improvement project, a New Jersey Health Initiatives award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to implement a state-of-the-art model of improving addiction treatment outcomes.

In continuing the effort, a one day conference is planned on Wednesday June 11, 2008 with two leaders in the addictions field, Dr. David Mee-Lee and Dr. Scott Miller. In addition New Hope Foundation staff members will also speak about engaging people in collaborative and participatory treatment.

The conference which takes place from 8:30 to 4:00 concludes with a panel discussion on how the CDOI approach has resulted in lower drop-out rates and higher-than-average success rates. Event to be held at the Crowne Plaza, 390 Forsgate Drive Jamesburg, NJ.

Download the conference brochure for agenda and registration.

For More Information:
609-689-0599 ext 7002

To register: PLEASE MAIL A COMPLETED REGISTRATION FORM and your payment to:
NCADD-NJ, 360 Corporate Boulevard, Robbinsville, NJ 08691
Attention: CDOI

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Count yourself in

The extraordinary degree of interest stirred by the upcoming presidential election has presented the recovery community with an unprecedented opportunity to amass a voting block that lawmakers will be hard pressed to ignore. Here in New Jersey an effort is already under way to build this constituency. The state was chosen with nine others as part of Faces and Voices of Recovery’s project, Recovery Voices Count. The project has three goals: register voters, educate them, and be sure they cast their votes on November 4.

The effort here in the state is being shepherded by NCADD-NJ and Friends of Addiction Recovery-New Jersey. Faces and Voices of Recovery chose these organizations because they have already taken the lead in these areas, including registering voters at last September’s Recovery Rally and producing an array of educational materials on numerous issues and, for the past eight years, an annual election guide. This guide gives an overview of issues before state and Congressional legislators and surveys them to determine their attitudes regarding addiction policies.

Whether electing a candidate or advancing a cause, numbers are all. It is time for New Jersey’s thousands of individual recovery voices to resound collectively as one, the first step being to register to vote. To join this effort, call 609-477-7012 or email jgrimes

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Recovery Support | Kudos from Prison

We’ve been to prison! Yes, Friends has established a prison chapter at New Jersey State Prison that has been going strong for over 5 years. The prison chapter began as an advocacy for recovery meeting. The meeting then became a ‘circle’ of recovery support for inmates to gain and share information on topics of interests. This monthly gathering is now a chapter that is facilitated by the inmates. We are pleased to have received another correspondence from the prison. JMG

I thank the “Friends of Addiction Recovery” staff for the determination and dedication they have in showing the positive aspects of addiction recovery. All of your visits to the prison are very much appreciated. Friends has shared so much with me and I will pass on the information to my fellow prisoners, family and friends. I am sure they will attend future meetings and support your strengthening of communities.

I am still striving to stay sober and stress free. My case is still on appeal and I am awaiting a decision for a custody change to a long-term residential drug treatment program. I will keep you posted on the outcome. Please take care and give everyone my thanks for such great work.

Yours Truly,

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

2008- April is Alcohol Awareness Month- Impact of Youth Alcohol Use

Youth use of alcohol in New Jersey is a pervasive and critical public health problem. The problem is epidemic by any public health standard. It begins in middle (and even elementary) schools and erupts in high school and on college campuses. No other drug threatens as many of New Jersey’s youth as alcohol. The 2005 New Jersey Student Health Survey of Middle School and High School Students found that almost half of the students drank alcohol within the past 30 days. Given their age and inexperience, many youth consume alcohol in ways that are very dangerous and result in serious medical issues or alcohol overdoses.

Each year in April, Town Hall Meetings taking place as an opportunity for community-based organizations to bring communities together to help raise awareness about the issue of underage drinking. Some upcoming meetings and events include:

4/14- Town Hall meeting Middlesex NCADD Contact: 732-254-3344 North Brunswick Town Hall

4/17- Senate Legislative Oversight Committee
Issues last year with underage drinking at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ has led to a state Senate Legislative Oversight Committee hearing on April 17th at 10 a.m. at the PNC Bank Arts Center. The issue of underage drinking and tailgating before concerts will be discussed further. Meeting at 10:00 Am

4/23- Town Hall meeting, Milltown Municipal Alliance, contact 732-565-9402 Borough Hall Court Room

Rude Awakening 2008
Programs will be running from April to JuneAssemblies will feature talks by the Middletown Police, a Jersey Shore Medical Center trauma nurse, a municipal court judge, representatives from Crossroads, township’s substance abuse program, a social worker, physical therapist, dental reconstructionist, and those who have lost loved ones in DWI collisions.
Contact Cpl. James Roese Middletown Police Department Traffic Safety Bureau 732-615-2049

NCADD-NJ Sobering Facts Campaign
Previously NCADD-NJ has released primers on youth drinking as part of its series on Stop Youth Alcohol Use. For sobering facts and more information about drinking on private property or enacting town ordinances for beer keg registration visit the NCADD-NJ ‘Sobering Facts’ website.

The online Alcohol Screening Tool is available year-round.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Consumers Connect

The Friends of Addiction Recovery-New Jersey Consumer Advisory Committee has met for the third time. This group of ‘Friends’ decided that collectively they have a message they would like to convey to the State Division of Addiction Services that would assist in serving clients. This group is concerned about a client centered recovery oriented system of care. They came together as a group and developed a working definition of recovery. This group is exciting to watch because of the various representations. This group is comprised of individuals including those in recovery, family members, counselors, teachers, and more. Within the group are folks from other groups that advocate for and/or support recovery. We welcome them all with open arms. It is exciting to watch the group work because they have passion and voice it freely. I have seen them come to compromises about delicate issues. They have decided that in this work the ‘big picture’ is more important than the close-up snapshot. It will be exciting to witness the next chapter of the journey towards creating a system of care that is client-centered and recovery-oriented.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Friends 2008 Retreat --Communication, education, and unity

Friends of Addiction Recovery- New Jersey (Friends) convened a two-day meeting to strengthen its five existing county chapters and explore inroads into counties that have yet to establish chapters. The retreat, which took place Feb. 8-9 in Perth Amboy, was facilitated by Dona Dmitrovic of who previously worked with the Johnson Institute in Washington, D.C., whose advocacy recruitment and engagement model has been integral to Friends since 2005.

The working group of 14 people gathered on the cold Friday night for dinner and followed that up with an inspiring opening session. Toward the end of the night, eyes were growing weary but the dialogue was alluring. It was concluded that Friends has met many objectives, but there’s still more to be accomplished through joint organizing efforts. Members of the Friends county chapters were joined by the Friends Steering Committee in an attempt to build stronger recovering communities and to work on honing advocacy skills throughout the state. Eric Arauz of North Brunswick, one of five recovery speakers at the 2007 Rally for Recovery, said the chapters held great promise for providing advocacy that was “statewide and zealous.” Among the topics the group explored was Advocacy with Anonymity, a critical hurdle in building an addictions issues constituency. The debate over anonymity has been a thorn in the side of the addictions issues advocacy effort for years as members of 12-Step groups hold the traditions sacrosanct.

Essex County Chapter Member Kevin Bullock said what he wanted from the meeting was a clear and strategic approach for the Friends chapters. He said that “uniformity of language” by the RCO’s was important to their advocacy work. Consistent use of language has been the focus of other advocacy trainings conducted by Faces and Voices of Recovery and Join Together.

The working group also agreed that Friends has capable and power-filled volunteers and that these dynamic people should be dubbed ‘recovery ambassadors’ because the word ‘volunteers’ just doesn’t do justice to their efforts. “Increased visibility,” was the goal Friends Community Organizer Jeanette Grimes said was needed for the recovery community. Grimes said there needed to be periodic assessments of chapters to determine their progress in making themselves known to the community at large.

Other Recovery advocates who took part in the retreat had this to say:

“The passionate enthusiasm of everyone who attended helps to strengthen my recovery advocacy work.”
Judy Fuqua, Friends Steering Committee Member

“This organization can really make a huge difference in a lot of people’s lives. Lifting the stigma of addiction will help so many people in so many ways. I am clearer about what our mission is and hope that we can find a way to spread the message and educate a lot of people.”
Cindi Caponegro, Union County Chapter

“We’re all on the same track—end stigma, strengthen treatment and recovery and unity of both for client and family.”
Pat Craven, Burlington County Chapter

“I have a better scope on how I can get training, as well as more information that I can pass on to others.”
Katherine Woodley, Union County Chapter

“The understanding and direction from other county chapters will help to advocate in our chapter as well.”
Cynthia Bullock, Essex County Chapter

“Knowing that a chapter is going to be started in the southern part of the state helps my recovery by being able to be with people who are also in recovery.”
Patricia Dennis, Friends Steering Committee Co-Chair

“There’s hope for recovery communities when we harness the energy, organize and stay within guidelines.”
Lisa Gladwell, Friends Steering Committee Co-Chair

“The sharing is so important. Sometimes it seems like recovery is a big secret. Just being with people who are willing to work for this goal is so encouraging. Personal stories are so empowering because you know it is possible.”
Bob Craven, Burlington County Chapter

“Proms and Alcohol Don’t Mix” Contest--Students to Produce PSAs

Attorney General Anne Milgram and Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Jerry Fischer today announced the kickoff of the second-annual program for high school seniors designed to increase their awareness about the dangers of underage drinking during the upcoming prom and graduation seasons.

Entitled “Proms and Alcohol Don’t Mix,” this innovative initiative asks high school seniors to create scripts for 30-second television public service announcements. The winning spot will be produced and distributed to local television stations. The winning school’s students will have a chance to appear in the spot or assist in its production or editing. A number of additional entries will also be chosen as runner-ups. Students who participate in developing the winning entry and the runner-up entries will be invited to a special party in their honor at Drumthwacket, the Governor’s residence, in Princeton.

“The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control is working to combat underage alcohol use on many different fronts,” Director Fischer said. “By using public education programs, community awareness efforts and law enforcement initiatives, we can create an environment that keeps young people free from the tragedies often associated with underage drinking.”

Scripts must be submitted to the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control no later then Friday, March 28. The winning entry will be selected in April, and production will begin immediately. Program criteria are available on the Division’s website, at

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Recovery Voices Count

Faces and Voices of Recovery recently launched their Recovery Voices Count campaign to educate the public about the myriad of ways that they can get involved in nonpartisan civic engagement activities so that their voices can be heard in the local, state and national arenas. Recovery community organizations and recovery advocates across the country are conducting voter registration and Get-Out-the-Vote activities, sponsoring candidate forums and getting candidates for political office on record about critical policies that will make recovery a reality for even more Americans.

With that in mind, along with a number of excellent materials, Faces and Voices of Recovery is also hosting one hour phone-in Recovery Advocacy teleconferences. The topic of the first teleconference/webinar in the 2008 series supports the Recovery Voices Count campaign. In this webinar, experts in the field talk about how you can get involved in the Recovery Voices Count campaign. Pat Taylor, Executive Director of Faces and Voices of Recovery introduces the campaign, Tom Coderre, National Field Director of Faces and Voices of Recovery gives an overview of why you should get more civically engaged, Gwen Henderson, Women in New Recovery speaks about voter registration success at her organization, NCADD-NJ’s Lori McDaniel discussed building relationships and the process of educating the public, candidates and elected officials about drug and alcohol addiction issues and sound public policies, and Jeff Blodgett, Wellstone Action spoke about how to organize and mobilize a successful Get-out-the-Vote campaign.

Take a look at the informative materials
Download the Guide to Civic Engagement
Listen to the teleconference
Download the Recovery Voices Count PowerPoint presentation

Find out more about the Campaign
Go to NCADD-NJ's Election Guide

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Non-vote on parity is inexcusable, inexplicable

That legislation (S-807/A-2512) requiring health insurers to cover mentally ill and addicted residents of the state was not put on the agenda for a vote by the NJ Assembly defies both logic and compassion. The measure had been put under the microscope by nine state panels charged with assessing its value and its affordability. All concluded that it should be enacted.

The New Jersey Senate passed parity legislation and state Assembly was poised to do the same, with 40 co-sponsors signed on in support. For some reason, Speaker Joseph Roberts did not see fit to put the bill up for a vote. It was suggested that supporters would not compromise on it, but that was not the case - amendments were offered. It is true that some points were inviolate. The American Society of Addiction Medicine's Patient Placement Criteria, which the measure included, guaranteed that patients would receive the proper type and proper amount of treatment. That component made the bill one of the most comprehensive in the country, and so was non-negotiable. Opponents wanted more stringent utilization management for the mentally ill or addicted than is allowed for other patients. A parity bill means equality, so having different standards of management was not something that made any sense.

The tentacles of addiction reach far and wide - one in three families in the state are affected by it. Mental illness affects many lives as well. The entire state loses because this bill was not allowed to come for a vote.