TRENTON – The state Human Services Department received a $3.65 million federal government grant to help 17 coalition groups put in place addiction prevention programs to combat drug and substance abuse among individuals between ages 12 and 18.
Some 1 million youngsters abuse drugs or alcohol. The hope is to reduce youths’ access to so-called gateway drugs that could lead to use of harder drugs. To help, groups of government officials, police schools, nonprofit groups, houses of worship, and others will collect information to identify problems.
“Fighting alcohol and substance abuse, especially among youth, requires programs that are customized to their problems and needs,” Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez said in a statement on Monday. “Utilizing regional coalitions will allow us to be more effective in changing social norms, attitudes and behavior that contribute to substance use and abuse.”
The grant will help set up contracts between the DHS and individual groups to put programs in place. The coalitions of residents, local governments, police, schools, nonprofit organizations, the faith community, youth and other key groups will work in tandem to identify, collect, analyze, and assess data on regional problems and assess the region’s capacity to effectively address the identified problems.
The contracts, each ranging from $149,776 to $204,500, were awarded to:
• The Southwest Council Inc. of Vineland, for Cumberland/Salem counties and one for Gloucester County
• Prevention First of Ocean for Monmouth County
• Barnabas Health Institute of West Orange for Ocean County
• Prevention Plus of Lumberton for Burlington County;
• Camden County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Use Inc. of Voorhees for Camden County;
• Hunterdon Prevention Resources of Flemington for Hunterdon County;
• Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction of Trenton for Mercer County;
• The Center for Prevention & Counseling in Newton for Sussex and Warren counties;
• Cape Assist in Wildwood for Cape May and Atlantic counties;
• The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources in Hackensack for Bergen County;
• Family Connections in Orange for Essex County;
• NCADD Hudson Partners In Prevention in Jersey City for Hudson County;
• NCADD Middlesex County, Inc. in East Brunswick for Middlesex County;
• William Paterson University in Wayne for Passaic County; and
• Prevention Links in Clark for Union County.
Two training contracts to support the coalitions were awarded to the Rutgers School of Social Work in New Brunswick ($150,000) and New Jersey Prevention Network in Lakewood ($200,000).
The DHS’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services received funds for the project from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant.