Addiction is a disease. We should treat it like one

Only one in nine people in the United States gets the care and treatment they need for addiction and substance abuse. A former Director of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli is working to end this epidemic and treat people with addictions with kindness, compassion and fairness.

In a personal, thoughtful talk, he encourages the millions of Americans in recovery today to make their voices heard and confront the stigma associated with substance use disorders.

Chatham Township is 26th Morris County Stigma Free Town

The Chatham Township Committee has passed a resolution to declare the township Stigma-Free, making the total 26 of the county’s 39 towns to join the Morris County “Stigma Free’’ initiative that aims to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

This grass roots initiative recognizes the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders in our communities, and promotes re-education and understanding that can help lead to treatment and recovery – minus the stigma associated with these illnesses. We are pleased to have passed this resolution as it represents yet another step in our efforts to increase awareness of mental illness,” said Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter. “I hope our ongoing efforts to shed light on this important topic will encourage our residents to talk, listen, and learn about mental illness.

“Our community forums and Out of the Darkness walks on suicide awareness and prevention have helped elevate the conversation and we will continue our efforts to remove the stigma of mental illness in the future,” Mayor Ritter added.

As stated in the Chatham Township resolution, “Stigma-Free communities aim to inspire public interest and open dialogues about stigma, raise awareness of the disease of mental illness and create a culture wherein residents feel supported by their communities and neighbors and feel free to seek treatment for their disease with fear of stigma.’’

Other Stigma-Free towns in Morris County are Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Chatham Borough, Denville, Dover, East Hanover, Hanover, Jefferson, Long Hill, Madison, Mendham Borough, Mine Hill, Montville, Morris Plains, Morristown, Morris Township, Mountain Lakes, Parsippany, Pequannock, Randolph, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township, Roxbury, and Washington Township, plus the Montville Township School District.

“This initiative is an important step in helping affected people seek recovery, without fear of stigma or reprisal,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “But it is only support shown for this Stigma-Free initiative by towns like Chatham Township, and their officials and residents, that can make this grass roots effort succeed.’’

Morris County has created a Stigma Free website to call attention to the initiative, provide information and resources, and a calendar of upcoming events related to mental illness and substance abuse. A Stigma Free Toolkit also is available for towns and communities.

For information on the disease of mental illness, visit and for information on NAMI’s national Stigma Free effort, visit:

Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace which results from the judgment by others. When individuals are labeled by their illnesses, they experience judgment and prejudice. Stigma brings experiences and feelings of shame, embarrassment, distress, hopelessness and reluctance to seek or accept help.

Governor Christie Announces $1.3 Million State Grant To Launch Nation’s First Certified Alcohol And Drug Counselor Apprenticeship Program

Trenton, NJ – Continuing in his fight against opioid addiction, Governor Chris Christie today announced a statewide expansion of a successful Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors apprenticeship program, the first of its kind in the nation.

Governor Christie was joined by Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) Commissioner Aaron R. Fichtner, Ph.D., and Rutgers President Robert Barchi for the announcement at the Livingston Student Center on the campus of Rutgers University-New Brunswick in Piscataway that the New Jersey Healthcare Talent Development Center (TDC) at Rutgers University will receive $1.3 million to launch the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC) apprenticeship program. The grants are part of a package of initiatives the Governor unveiled in September that commits $200 million to expand the State’s national model programs and services to continue to effectively address New Jersey’s opioid and substance use crisis.

“One of my priorities has been to put more certified alcohol and drug counselors on the ground to tackle the disease of addiction one person at a time,” said Governor Christie. “This successful program creates a pathway for those interested in helping those with substance use disorder through paid on-the-job training. Thank you to Rutgers and President Barchi in seeing this need and partnering with us to provide this crucial training throughout the state.”

The $1.3 million investment will enable Rutgers University to train approximately 200 people in 2018. LWD contributes up to $6,000 per worker, and their employer matches 50 percent of the training cost. The apprenticeship will consist of 270 hours of classroom instruction at Rutgers and 3,100 hours of paid on-the-job training with a participating healthcare employer. Apprentices will learn the science of addiction, counseling techniques, crisis intervention, case management, and addiction recovery while mastering the 45 state-mandated core competencies. This is the first time CADC training is being offered in an earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship program.

Apprentices who successfully complete the program and pass the state certification exam will be qualified to work as Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors in addiction treatment centers, community health centers, hospitals, and other direct care settings in New Jersey. This fills a critical need in the healthcare industry, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

“The statewide expansion of the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors program fills a need for critical jobs in the war against addiction. Offering the training through apprenticeship allows workers to earn-while-they-learn instead of putting off their education, making our workforce more skilled,” said Labor Commissioner Fichtner.

Today’s announcement expands a successful pilot program, announced by Governor Christie in July, in which the New Jersey Department of Labor’s New Jersey Healthcare Talent Development Center at Rutgers is providing CADC training to 10 case managers at Homeless Solutions in Morristown.

The Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors Program is part of the ‘65 by 25: Many Paths, One Future’ initiative that strives to help all New Jerseyans find pathways to employment through training aligned to the needs of employers. The goal is to have 65 percent of the workforce equipped with a college degree or industry-valued credential by 2025. Currently, 50 percent of the workforce meets that criteria.

Parents, Residents Concerned About Opioid Epidemic Invited to Free Training on Jan. 9

PEQUANNOCK TWP. (Dec. 12, 2017) — A nationally recognized expert on underage alcohol and drug abuse will train parents and other community members at a free forum on Jan. 9, sponsored by Community Partners for Hope.

Jermaine Galloway

Jermaine Galloway, a retired Boise, Idaho police officer better known as Tall Cop (he is 6 feet 9 inches tall), created “High in Plain Sight” program and has trained more than 105,000 people nationwide.

Galloway will discuss how the opioid trade manages to become a part of a community, and how citizens can help protect children and young adults from being caught up in in it. The training empowers attendees to detect signs of underage drinking and drug use. Galloway uses more than 70 visual aids so community members become familiar with new drugs, logos and other identifiers, potential stash compartments, and pictures, songs and clothing connected to drugs.

The forum is the fourth in a series offered by Community Partners for Hope, a coalition of 11 community groups and houses of worship committed to addressing the opioid addiction crisis. “High in Plain Sight” will take place Tuesday, Jan. 9, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains, 529 Newark Pompton Turnpike. (Galloway will also conduct a private presentation for the professional staff at Pequannock Township High School.)

Tickets to the evening event are free, but registration is required. Reserve a seat at

Gov. Christie: Tonight’s Candlelight Vigil Is To Recognize Those Decimated By This Epidemic

Governor Christie: We have an NIH Study that says that people who smoke marijuana are two-and-a-half times more likely to become addicted to opioids based upon the study of over 45,000 people across the country. Not done by any partisan organization, done by the National Institutes of Health. This is not debatable stuff but the marijuana industry is so ravenous to get their hands on this money that they don’t care that it’s blood money, and that’s what it is. And we’re having a Candlelight Vigil tonight to recognize the families across this state that are being absolutely decimated by this epidemic. And the idea that in the midst of this epidemic we want to legalize another drug to me is completely anti-common sense and unthinkable. Well, I’m willing to predict to you right now, I think the Governor-elect said it’s going to be $300 million in revenue, you’ll never see it. Not anywhere close, if he gets half that he’s lucky, and then, you know, the idea that that’s not going to make this stuff more available to kids in different forms is just sophistry, it’s going to. And you know everybody wants to be cool and say hey let’s make it legal, I don’t care about being cool.

Governor Christie Announces Funding To Raise Awareness Of The Dangers Of Overprescribing Painkillers To Young Athletes

Trenton – Governor Chris Christie today announced the awarding of $670,700 in contracts to regional addiction prevention coalitions throughout the state to raise awareness about the overprescribing of opioid pain relievers to young adults, particularly young athletes.

The total annual funding for the project is $407,350 for the first year, and $263,350 for years two through four.

“I have seen too many young people, especially young athletes, whose lives began a downward spiral into addiction, and often death, soon after being treated for a legitimate injury,” Governor Chris Christie said. “Painkillers are often overprescribed and then stopped abruptly, leaving people with a dependency they can’t break. Research shows three in four high school heroin users started with prescription opioids, and we have to do everything we can to stop it.”

The Department of Health recently issued a request for letters of interest from the 17 regional prevention coalitions established by Governor Christie in 2012. Some of the coalitions address the addiction issues in more than one county, so all 21 counties are served by them.

Each coalition receiving the funding will each receive $19,400 for the first year and $12,540 for the subsequent years.

The coalitions, funded by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), will partner in its “NJAssessRx” project funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The program is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of sharing medications and to work with pharmaceutical and medical communities to educate them on the risks of overprescribing to young athletes. The project also aims to raise community awareness and bring prescription drug abuse prevention activities and educational programs to schools, communities, parents, prescribers, and their patients.

In addition, SAMHSA will track reductions in opioid overdoses and the incorporation of Prescription Drug Monitoring Program data into needs assessments and strategic plans as indicators of the program’s success.

Overdose deaths in the United States Overdose deaths nearly quadrupled from 2000 to 2014, from 8,407 to 33,091 annually, and in New Jersey, in 2015, the death rate from opioid overdoses was 18.1 per 100,000 people, or 1,587 deaths, according to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.

Effective January 1, 2012, the 17 regional substance abuse prevention coalitions were funded by DMHAS with $3.65 million in grants from the SAMHSA.

The goal of the coalitions is to engage community stakeholders to address prevention priorities aimed: reducing the use of illegal substances – especially opioids – among young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, reducing underage drinking, and reducing prescription medication misuse.