Council Connection
News Extra
July 2012 
Council Happenings
Register Now for 21st Annual Summit
Task Force Second Hearing Held at Daytop New Jersey
"Last Call" to apply for GCADA Subcommittee Membership
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Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use by NJ's Youth & Young Adults


Next Hearing


When:  Wed., August 29th

Where:  Monmouth Cty. Library, Manalapan

Time:  10:00 am

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Gov. Chris Christie signed landmark drug court legislation last Thursday that will begin requiring nonviolent, drug-addicted offenders to enter treatment programs, even if they don't volunteer for treatment, rather than be locked up in state prisons. 


"What we're dealing with with most people here is an addiction, an illness, that needs to be treated as such,"  Gov. Christie said after the bill's signing, "I truly, firmly believe that this will not only be extraordinarily successful in terms of the numbers that it will produce over time, but I also believe that even if it was successful only once we could claim success because every life is precious."


The Council applauds Governor Christie for his leadership in bringing this to fruition -- it is an historic moment that also brings hope to tens of thousands of individuals and families who live with the shame and stigma of addiction.  To read the Council's complete response to the signing, click here, and to read complete coverage of the bill signing visit the GCADA Facebook page.  


The GCADA looks forward to supporting Governor Christie's and New Jersey's continued efforts to meaningfully address alcoholism and drug abuse.   We will do so through the development of the "Blueprint for a Drug-Free New Jersey 2020" as well as many other events and activities some of which are reflected in this News Extra. 


Thank you for your continued support of and interest in the Council mission.


Very truly yours,

John Hulick


Executive Director


Register Now for 21st Annual Summit to be held on Sept. 12 
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Capacity is limited so be sure to register now for this year's Annual Summit. Due to heavy demand, last year's registration was closed far in advance of the Summit.  Be sure to REGISTER NOW and invite a friend to attend!


The Summit, "Creating Healthy and Safe Communities" will be a day of Celebration, Recognition and Learning.  This year's attendees will celebrate National Recovery Month; participate in cutting-edge workshops; and, honor community-based volunteers from throughout the state.


Here's some of what was said about last year's Summit:

  • "My first time here. I was very impressed. Amazing all the knowledge in this room and used for a common cause."
  • "One of the best GCADA summits; excellent speakers and topics, gave me hope for the future of prevention and treatment."
Don't miss your opportunity to attend, to register click here.

Task Force Second Hearing Held at Daytop New Jersey on July 10th



In gripping testimony, Abby Boxman with a framed photo of her son, Justin, in her hands, spoke to the Task Force and nearly one hundred others in attendance.  Justin was lost to an overdose a little just over a year ago. 


"Nearly everyone I speak to said the same thing. They start with prescription drugs and move on to heroin," Boxman said. "I don't have statistics but this is an epidemic."  Boxman has had the support of  GRASP (Grief Recovery After Substance Passing) to help her cope with her loss which she recently established a chapter of in Monmouth County.


"I am doing this for my son," Boxman said. "This type of pain I wouldn't wish on anyone. I wouldn't wish this on the worst person in the world."


Recovery and Hope


Emily, a now 20-year-old graduate of Daytop New Jersey, told the Task Force she began taking pills at 14-years-old and quickly transitioned to heroin.  "I was digging my own grave, basically. You always try to chase that first high, and you keep moving up and up," Emily said.

Emily said an arrest for heroin possession led her to Daytop where she realized she wanted help.  "I was here for almost a full year and it was the best thing that ever happened to me," Emily said. "Treatment works, if you want it, it works."  She concluded, "I wake up happy and thankful. I love my life now and I embrace it."


Access to Care and Stigma


The Task Force also heard from Michael and Linda W. of Monmouth County.  Linda wrote NJ 101.5 Radio about her 19-year-old opiate addicted son after the station's coverage of the May 29th Task Force hearing. Linda's letter asked 101.5's News Director, Eric Scott, to address her concerns with Governor Christie which Scott did on his monthly program, "Ask the Governor".


They discussed the difficulty they had in getting their son into treatment.  Michael told of the difficulty in meeting the criteria for admission. "If my son had cancer, he would be able to get help," Linda said.


Michael spoke of the negative responses he has received by seemingly educated, professional people when they learn of his son's addiction.  He stated, ""There is stigma attached to this." 


Additional Testimony 


Former deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Dr. Thomas McLellan, told the Task Force that prescription opioid overdose is the number one cause of accidental death in the country, even higher than car accidents, which come in second.  He said that prescription opiate abuse is more difficult to combat than abuse of other drugs, "You can't simply say it's illegal when there are very important medical benefits. We need to figure out proper management."


Other witnesses included Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns and Sgt. John Beebe from Sparta, who talked about the threats of prescription painkillers and heroin in their suburban and rural jurisdictions. 


"People say we don't have a problem like this in Hunterdon County," Kearns said. "And we do. You don't need to go into an alley or travel into a city to purchase drugs. You can send a text message and have them delivered to your door."  He  strongly encouraged the Task Force to address this  problem aggressively and to involve the law enforcement community in doing so.


Acting Director Eric Kanefsky, NJ Division of Consumer Affairs, also testified about the state's Prescription Monitoring Program.  The day concluded with the Task Force receiving public comment during which many members of the public voicing their concerns with the difficulty of getting treatment.


To read additional news coverage of the July 10th Daytop hearing, click here. To read coverage of the May 29th Statehouse hearing please click here.


"Last Call" to apply for GCADA Subcommittee Membership

Deadline, July 31st  


GCADA is seeking membership for the four subcommittees of its Policy and Planning Committee: Criminal Justice; Mental Health and Co-Occurring Disorders; Military and Veterans; and, Treatment and Recovery.


The subcommittees' tasks are to review and advise the Council regarding services in each respective area as they relate to alcoholism and drug abuse. This includes identifying gaps, best practices and initiatives in the defined area. Recommendations will be made to the Policy and Planning Committee.


For more information and the subcommittee application form please click here.
Prevention and Public Awareness Committee
GCADA is also seeking membership from four Municipal Alliances to serve as representatives to its
Prevention and Public Awareness Committee. The representatives must reflect the geographic,
socio-economic and ethnic diversity of the Municipal Alliances.

The committee's tasks are to review and advise the Council regarding services in the area of prevention as they relate to alcoholism and drug abuse. This includes identifying gaps, best practices and public awareness initiatives. Recommendations will be made to the Policy and Planning Committee.
For more information and the committee application form please click here.