Morris Prosecutor: Opioid Forum for Students at Morris County School of Technology

Morris County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Brad Seabury spoke on Monday afternoon at the Morris County School of Technology in Denville to educate the health care science juniors on the ongoing opioid and heroin epidemic in New Jersey.

Brad Seabury in a speaking to a classroom full of students
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Brad Seabury addresses juniors at MCST

photo of Chief Assistant Prosecutor Brad Seabury addressing class at MCST
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Brad Seabury addresses juniors ar MCST

The students are studying to become active members of the health care industry. The attending students take college level health courses and are the next generation of doctors, nurses, and physical therapists, the majority of whom will have access to opioids, as well as the power to prescribe these drugs.

Accordingly, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seabury were eager to conduct this presentation at the request of one of the healthcare science faculty.

Seabury’s presentation covered multiple aspects of the opioid epidemic, including how it impacts the community, what law enforcement is doing to combat the crisis, and the success of the current educational, enforcement, and treatment programs in Morris County, which is a Stigma Free county.Stigma-Free Morris County poster

He explained how the Prosecutor’s Office works with local agencies, such as the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and Morris Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES), to battle the current epidemic.

Even though the most residents are aware of the opioid epidemic, there is a general lack of knowledge about how street opiates have changed over the years.

Seabury provided a basic understanding of pharmaceutical opioid drug abuse, how this problem can lead to addiction, how heroin is used, distributed, and priced in Morris County, as well as how Fentanyl has become a major killer of illicit drug users.

Many of the students expressed interest in learning more about how they can help make an impact on the opioid and heroin epidemic in their future careers.

“Providing educational programs to students about to enter the healthcare profession can be a critical component in fighting the current heroin and opioid epidemic,” said Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp. “We are grateful to the Morris County School of Technology for inviting us to speak to these future health doctors, nurses, and physical therapists”.

Inquiries should be directed to Public Information Officer Peter DiGennaro at pressinquiry@co.morris.nj.us or 973-829-8159.

Adults Who Interact With Teens Offered Free Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

With teenage suicide rates on an upswing, a barrage of tragedies in the news, and the heightened pressures of adolescence in a media-frenzied world, it’s more important than ever for caring adults to know how to intervene effectively.NewBridge logo

Morris County again this year is funding Youth Mental Health First Aid training through NewBridge Services for adults who regularly interact with children ages 12 to 18.The eight-hour, evidence-based training teaches parents, caregivers, educators, youth leaders and others the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and addiction in adolescents, and more importantly, how to reach out to them.

“With so many communities going stigma-free, this is a great way to start to educate residents about mental health issues and ways to reach out to young people who need assistance,” NewBridge Services Director of Community Response and Education Mary Vineis said.

The Youth Mental Health First Aid training is particularly valuable for educators, school support staff, coaches, and religious leaders who work with teens, as well as parents, Vineis said.

Last year, NewBridge trained more than 120 people in Youth Mental Health First Aid and more than 60 in Mental Health First Aid for adults. NewBridge also offers training specifically for public safety professionals and educators in higher education.

Butler resident Chris Ziegler went through the training after his daughter’s 15-year-old friend and classmate died tragically last May. “I wanted to know more of what we could do as a community,” said Ziegler, who gave NewBridge’s Youth Mental Health First Aid training rave reviews. “You learn ways to let young people know you recognize something is going on, and that you’re willing to help.”

Mental illness affects an estimated one in five adolescents, yet less than half of preteens and teens with disorders get treatment, Vineis said. Recognizing the difference between normal growing-up behaviors and mental disorders is crucial. Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and 75 percent by age 24.

Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches a five-step action plan. Anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including ADHD), and eating disorders are among the topics covered.

A grant from Morris County will allow NewBridge to provide six community sessions free of charge to participants. The cost is normally $170 per participant. Community leaders and residents interested in taking the training can contact Vineis at mvineis@newbridge.org or 973-686-2228.

Wharton Hosts Parents’ Opioids and Addictions Forum on March 29

A special “Parent’s Forum” on opioids and addiction, and related topics will be held in Wharton Borough on Thursday evening, March 29, and will feature leaders from law enforcement and treatment and recovery programs in our region.

The free program, sponsored by the Wharton Municipal Alliance and the Wharton Police Department, is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the MacKinnon Middle School, located at 137 East Central Ave, Wharton, N.J. 07885.

This event, which is being held by Stigma-Free Morris County, is open to anyone who is age 18 or older.

Speakers will include:

  • Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp;
  • Morris County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Brad Seabury, who will discuss the heroin/opiate epidemic in Morris County;
  • Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, who will discuss recovery efforts now available through the Sheriff’s Office and the Hope One initiative. He also will bring the Sheriff’s Hope One van to the event.

Also on hand will be representatives of:

  • Rockaway Borough-based CARES (Center for Addiction Recovery, Education & Success), to inform parents about addiction and recovery services;
  • Morris County Juvenile Corrections, to discuss gangs and the juvenile participation in gangs;
  • Deirdre’s House, to discuss sexting, photo sharing, and human trafficking.

“The Borough of Wharton and it’s Municipal Alliance is once again taking the lead in offering a program to help educate our parents and residents to the dangers and realities of destructive social endeavors that not only affect their families but our communities and society as a whole,’’ said Wharton Mayor Bill Chegwidden.

“We truly hope people will take the time to come out and educate themselves on the dangers of opioids, addiction and recovery, sexting, photos sharing and human trafficking.”

“We thank officials in Wharton, especially the Alliance and Police Department, for being active partners in the countywide effort to deal with the opioid epidemic and mental illness, ” said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo.  “We urge all parents to attend this important session because we have learned, unfortunately, that no family is immune from these problems.”

For more information on the March 29 event, please contact Wharton Deputy Clerk Robin Ghebreal at 9730-361-8444 ext. 2710 or rghebreal@whartonnj.com

For information on Sheriff Gannon’s Hope One program, visit: https://sheriff.morriscountynj.gov/community/hope-one/

For information on Morris CARES, visit: http://morris.caresnj.org/

For information on Morris County’s Stigma Free initiative, visit:  https://morriscountystigmafree.org/

NJ Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma Ambassador Awards – Submission Deadline is February 20

From NAMI New Jersey:

The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Ambassador Awards.  The Ambassador Award embodies the Council’s philosophy of Respect. Understanding. Change.

The 2018 Ambassador Awards will honor the people, institutions and endeavors whose work best exemplify how communities encourage understanding and acceptance of adults and children whose lives are affected by mental illness. This year, the New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma is recognizing individual teachers, educational administrators and professional staff; public, private, charter and religious schools; educational programs and school organizations that have provided effective supports, services or programs that reduce the ways in which society stigmatizes people with mental illnesses.

Deadline for submission of nominations is February 20, 2018. Award winners will be notified by March 11, 2018. 

Ambassador Award selection will be based on the following criteria. Community Education nominees’ actions or services should:

  • Demonstrate enlightened, compassionate and respectful methods of teaching children and adolescents how to be mindful and considerate in their interaction with people who have a mental illness.
  • Exhibit support and understanding of people suffering with mental illness, with attention to family members and others who support them, particularly in times of crisis.
  • Influence their school and the general community’s efforts in de-stigmatizing mental illness.
  • Model behavior and demonstrate to other teachers and administrators in their districts, their private, charter or religious school communities how to best interact with people who have mental illnesses.
  • Influence people with mental illnesses to seek help.
  • Encourage their communities to provide help for people with mental illnesses.
  • Evoke empathy and understanding for people living with mental illnesses.
  • Dispel myths surrounding mental illness.

Individual Nomination Requirements:

  • At the time of nomination, nominee must be employed by a New Jersey public school district; an accredited private or religious primary or secondary school; or a New Jersey state charter school as a teacher, administrator or professional staff member.
  • Must be employed in New Jersey at the time of nomination.
  • Nominator or self-nominated applicant must provide a short paragraph (250-500 words) describing the program, project or endeavor and the impact it made in reducing stigma.
  • Nominator or self-nominated applicant must provide data (statistical or anecdotal) on the public impact (i.e., media coverage, public praise or commendation, evidence of changed behavior in the community) made by the program, project or endeavor.
  • Nominee must consent to being nominated and be present at the April 19, 2018, ceremony to accept the Ambassador Award.
  • Nominee must sign nomination form. Without the nominee’s written consent, the nomination will be invalid.

*Winners must be present at the April 19, 2018, Awards ceremony to accept the Ambassador Award.

Educational Institution, Program or Organization Nomination Requirements:

  • Nominator must provide a short paragraph (250-500 words) describing the submitted program, project or endeavor and the impact it makes in reducing stigma.
  • Nominator must provide data (statistical or anecdotal) on the public impact (i.e. media coverage, public praise or commendation, evidence of changed behavior in the community) made by the program, project or endeavor.
  • School district superintendent, school principal, school board member or organization executive must consent to an organization’s nomination.
  • School district superintendent or school principal must sign nomination. Without this person’s written consent, the nomination will be invalid.

DOWNLOAD NOMINATION FORM

Lincoln Park is Morris County’s 27th Stigma-Free Town

The Lincoln Park Borough Council has passed a resolution to declare the borough Stigma-Free, making the total 27 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.

“The issues of dependency and mental health affect all of us in our communities one way or another,’’ said Lincoln Park Mayor David Runfeldt. “This initiative gets assistance to those who need it and acceptance to those that deserve it.”

Lincoln Park joins a majority of Morris County municipalities that have signed on as Stigma-Free communities.

Other Stigma-Free towns are Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Chatham Borough, Chatham Township, 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 Lincoln Park, and their officials and residents, that can make this grass roots effort succeed.’’

The Morris County Board of Freeholders in 2016 passed a resolution designating Morris County as a Stigma-Free County and asked the county’s 39 towns to consider enrolling.

Morris County has created a Stigma Free websitewww.morriscountystigmafree.org 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.

Morris County’s goal in creating a Stigma Free initiative is to disseminate information and foster a stigma-free environment where people are free from judgment and can get the help they need to recover.

Here are just a few of the many voices in Morris County supporting the initiative:

Butler Mayor Bob Alveine: “We want to help save lives by encouraging people with addictions to come forward, to seek treatment without worrying about any stigma, and to embrace their efforts and encourage their recovery.’’

Mine Hill Mayor Sam Morris: “It’s important for people who are encountering a mental health or dependency issue to feel free from stigma and embarrassment. “None of us would scorn someone who needs medical help with diabetes or a heart condition. It should be the same consideration for people with mental illness and dependency as well.”

Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty: “I hope that this designation will help those who are affected seek the assistance they need without fear of judgment.”

Pequannock Councilwoman Melissa Florance-Lynch: “I am thrilled that the Township of Pequannock has joined the Morris County Stigma-Free initiative. In one way or another, everyone is affected by problems of mental illness and substance abuse and we want people to know the community is here to help.”

Washington Township Police Chief Jeff Almer: “This will make residents, as well as the police officers, more aware of the illnesses and work to create an environment where we can assist with wellness and recovery by providing needed support and resources.’’

As part of the countywide initiative, residents are urged to take the Stigma Free Pledge:

  • As a supporter to those who have a mental illness or substance use disorder, I understand the importance of recognizing the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • I also know that when recognition is coupled with reeducation and understanding, health-seeking action can be taken. These actions lead to recovery, which is possible for everyone.
  • The Three R’s (recognize, reeducate and reduce) depend on each other to effectively Stamp Out Stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • This is what I, as an individual, charge myself to do—to fully Stamp Out Stigma and clear the path to health-seeking behavior. It begins with me.

For information on the disease of mental illness, visit www.nami.org and for information on NAMI’s national Stigma Free effort, visit: https://www.nami.org/stigmafree

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