HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Centenary University has been awarded a $6,350 grant from the Hackettstown Medical Center Community Advisory Board to launch a community-wide substance abuse prevention and recovery support program.
The goals of the new program are two-fold. One goal is to equip Centenary students in addiction recovery with information, skills, and peer support to manage their own recovery.
Another goal is to provide psychoeducational training and information to community members to assist them to identify and support those in the addiction recovery process. Hackettstown Medical Center is a member of Atlantic Health System.
The workshops, some of which are open to Centenary students and others for members of the local community, began in April to mark National Alcohol Awareness Month. Discussion topics include addiction, early recovery, supporting others in recovery, relapse prevention, managing stress, and understanding cravings. Workshops are coordinated by Centenary University’s Graduate Clinical Counseling Addictions Track program in collaboration with the Hackettstown Stigma Free Task Force and local community agencies.
“This program is designed to raise awareness in the local community—including educators, students, families, and first responders—of the signs of substance abuse,” said Kerry Mullins, vice president for student life and dean of students at Centenary. “Connecting members of the community with the resources available to support recovery is vital to achieving success. There’s a growing need everywhere, including here in Warren County, to take action on substance abuse.”
Warren County recorded 1,275 admissions for addiction services in 2019, according to the New Jersey Substance Abuse Monitoring System. Of those admissions, 808 were unduplicated and 10 were under age 18. That year, the top three drugs related to admissions were heroin/other opiates, alcohol, and marijuana. The New Jersey Medical Examiner has also reported an increasing number of overdoses from other drugs, including fentanyl.
“Addiction treatment is a finite process, whereas recovery is a lifelong endeavor,” said Centenary University Professor of Counseling and Director of the Graduate Counseling Programs Keith Morgen, Ph.D., LPC, ACS. “Informational and social supports, including validation from others in the recovery process, are critical to lifelong recovery success. The Graduate Clinical Counseling Addictions Track program is designed to train the next generation of providers to offer this recovery support alongside evidence-based treatment models. That is why our program is proud to collaborate with Student Life and the Hackettstown Stigma Free Task Force on this important recovery support programming.”
Centenary University has a strong history of providing mental health support to the Hackettstown area community.
Through two prior grants from the Hackettstown Medical Center Community Advisory Board, the University conducted mental health first aid training to teach approximately 142 members of the Centenary and Warren County communities the skills to respond to signs of mental health and substance abuse challenges.