Break the Stigma – Start a Conversation!

From Life Center Stage:

Help us Break the Stigma and inspire hope! Please share this video and start a conversation!

On June 22, 2019, a festival dedicated to “Breaking the Stigma” was held on the Morristown Green. The festival was aimed at inspiring hope through the sharing of personal stories of recovery from substance use disorder and/or mental health. The community members performed original songs and cover songs related to their stories to raise awareness. Alternative community activities such as drumming, yoga, and interactive art, mask-making and a “I AM” photo shoot were available inviting the community to connect with one another. Six courageous and amazingly talented people shared their stories of recovery from substance use disorders, depression, boarderline personality, postpartum depression, eating disorders, and anxiety to help break the stigma that prevents far too many from seeking help. There is hope! Don’t give up!

Stigma Free Third Anniversary – Videos of Event

On April 24, the Morris County Board of Freeholders this week recognized the third anniversary of the county’s Stigma-Free Initiative and urged all of the county’s 39 towns, plus school districts, businesses, law enforcement, and religious and nonprofit organizations to join the countywide effort to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use disorders. Here are some videos from the event:

Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo

Erica Valvano, of Hope One

Wendy Sefcik, of Remembering T.J.

CCM Students Behind “Despite My Diagnosis” – Alexa Wyszkowski of Rockaway, Raven Resch of Belvidere, and Marco Mirlas of Roxbury

How Morris County puts a bull’s-eye on New Jersey’s drug epidemic

From NJTV:

Two years ago, Morris County launched its Narcan 2.0 program. It offers recovery coaches through treatment for those on the brink of death but revived with naloxone. [Prosecutor Frederic] Knapp says 60 percent of those offered help accept it.

“Hopefully we’re doing the right thing, but seeing these numbers go up despite our efforts is really horrific. But it doesn’t dissuade us. In fact, it convinces us to work harder,” Knapp said.

Read the full article, How Morris County puts a bull’s-eye on New Jersey’s drug epidemic.


“Have you been infected by stigma?”

During Mental Health Month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness is spreading awareness to #CureStigma:

Learn more about the #CureStigma campaign at

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.

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.

Highlights from the Stigma-Free Conference

The Morris County Stigma-Free Committee’s first conference was held on November 1, 2017, at Morristown Medical Center. It featured speakers from across the spectrum of government, law enforcement, and the non-profit sector sharing their experiences and successes in the fight against stigma. Thanks to all who attended!

Here are a few video highlights from the conference:

Gov. Christie On Addiction: Life Moves, It’s Not Static, It’s Not Something You’re Stuck With

Governor Chris Christie today met with case managers and support staff at Homeless Solutions in Morris Township to discuss an innovative approach to increasing the number of skilled drug counselors in the state. The employees are currently participating in a 45-week, state-funded, on-site drug counseling certification program and company-paid apprenticeship. Watch the video: