Mercer Council News

Keep up to date with our news and activities

Wellness Lunch and Learn on Internet Gaming Disorder March 26th

Mary-Kate Hardy, MS, NCC, LAC of High Focus Centers will be giving a lunch and learn at Mercer Council on March 26th on the topic of Internet Gaming Disorder:  A Guide to Video Game Addiction.  This presentnation will explore the impact of video games on functioning and identify the pros and cons of online game playing.  She will also discuss ways for professionals to identify if a patient is displaying problematic game use and explore the most recent treatment options. 

This lunch and learn is for anyone who is concerned about an individual's internet gaming use -- parents and professionals alike.  At this FREE event, you will learn:

Positive and negative impacts of video gamesWarning signs of video addictionTreatment options for internet gaming disorder

Beverages will be provided, please bring your own lunch.  Click here to register

Tuesday, March 26th, 12Noon - 1pm

Prevention Coalition of Mercer County/Mercer Council

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Gambling and Substance Use Disorder

Last week, January 22-25th was National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW). Area schools and groups held contests, activities, and informational meetings about facts surrounding substance use and misuse. A coalition member, The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ), wrote an informative article that showed more facets of addiction studies as part of NDAFW. We are grateful for our many wonderful and active coalition members that give us insight and support. Please read the below guest blog entry from Olubukunola Oyedele, MPH, Public Health Specialist from the CCGNJ.

Studies have repeatedly shown that Substance Use Disorder and Gambling addiction are an especially dangerous combination that can cause significant harm to the afflicted individual and his or her family. The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) is dedicated to joining the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in educating parents, educators and teens themselves during the National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) in shattering the myths about alcohol or drug misuse including vaping and gambling. While substance addictions are ingested, gambling is an addiction to an activity. With Teens, gambling is not limited to just brick and mortar casinos, but through video games, online casinos and other social games, as well as fantasy sports contests. Teens engage in these activities, even though a few of these avenues are restricted for teens under 18 (fantasy sports and online casinos). In addition, adults gifting lottery tickets to teens (even though they are not allowed to buy one themselves until they are 18), is a huge indication that gambling in teenagers is more pervasive than we would like to admit. In a study by Colin et.al both parents and adolescents report gambling as less concerning compared to alcohol and drug usage (Colin et.al. 2011).

Unfortunately, this perception is why there is a lack of recognition of the signs of increased gambling problems amongst teenagers. This perception has also caused confusion when what appear to be signs of drug/alcohol usage are instead early signs of a gambling/gaming addiction. While substance addiction has visible physical clues, gambling can remain a hidden addiction. However, there are some similarities which include; isolation, dramatic mood swings, abnormal eating or sleeping, dropped grades, preoccupation, change in activity level, weight loss or weight gain, lying or hiding actions or behaviors in order to cover up the addiction and the inability to stop or control the addictive behavior regardless of the consequences or previous outcomes.

The council wants to encourage every parent and educator to become aware of the signs and risk of problem gambling and educate their teenagers. In addition, please remember that help is available. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 800-GAMBLER. We offer support, treatment, and hope and remain just a phone call or click away. Olubukunola Oyedele, MPH

 

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Community Advocacy Workshop January 15th from 1:00 - 3:00pm

Join us for a free Community Advocacy workshop facilitated by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, New Jersey State Affiliate as they discuss how to partner with individuals, families and communities to promote recovery, and how members of the community can get involved.  Sharpen your advocacy skills and communicate your passion for prevention, treatment and recovery!  Refreshments will be served.  Click the link below to register for this free training:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-advocacy-workshop-ncadd-nj-tickets-54311453018

 

 

 

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Opioid Use for Pain Management Across Generations

A recent study by the American Society of Anesthesiologists has revealed interesting information on how various generations deal with pain management.  When we look at Millienials (ages 18-36), Gen Xers (ages 37-52), Baby Boomers (ages 53-71) and the Silent Generation (ages 72-92) we see marked differences.  Baby Boomers are two times more likely than Millennials to have used opioids to treat pain.  Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation are more likely to choose over-the-counter drugs to deal with their pain issues.  Millennials along with Gen Xers prefer to manage chronic pain by making changes to their lifestyle including exercise, mindfulness, etc.  Nearly 30% of Millenials think it is ok to take opioids without a prescription, and one in five Millennials regret using opioids.  A few more survey results that were interesting:  one in ten Millennials obtained opioids inappropriately through a household member's prescription; 60% of Millennials have experience chronic pain; one in five Millennials say they don't know the best method for disposing leftover opioids.*  

Everyone should be aware that unused drugs that remain in medicine cabinets are highly susceptibel to theft and misuse.  To avoid misuse, bring your unused, expired household prescription and over the counter drugs to a permanent medicine drop box located in your local police station.  All police departments in Mercer County now have a permanent medicine drop box installed in their lobby areas which can be accessed 24/7.  To find a medicine drop box in another county, visit:  www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/meddrop 

If you are an older adult dealing with chronic pain (or a caregiver to someone with chronic pain) and are looking for alternative approaches to opioids, schedule a free Healthy Outlooks presentation today by calling 609-396-5874 ext 205.  In this one hour presentation you will learn about risks of prescription pain medications such as Vicodin, Oxycontin or Codeine; find healthy alternatives to pain management and gain insights into Rx medicine misue and safety.  

*Based on August 2017 ORC International Caravan Omnibus Survey

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PCMC Holiday Breakfast: Accomplishments and Changes

Holiday-Breakfast-2018-pic1 The Author, Susan Stahley (Rider), Barbara Sprechman, Incoming Chairman- Joe Hadge (TCNJ), and out-going Chairwoman, Justine Frank

     On Wednesday, December 12, our coalition hosted a holiday breakfast to review our year and to announce some big changes in our leadership. Our coalition members had an opportunity to catch up, introduce themselves to others, network and socialize over a nice breakfast of breakfast sandwiches, bagels, pastries, fruit and more. As the meeting portion began, our guests introduced themselves, their organization, and for fun, their Elf Names!(Mine was Merry Glitter Cheeks if you were wondering!)

     We had the opportunity to introduce our coalition to our many guests and describe a bit of what we do and the accomplishments we made during 2018. Some of those accomplishments include an extension of our Drug Free Communities funding for the next five years, a forum held on marijuana legalization, the launch of our “Tackling Opioids through Prevention for Athletes” program, and many opportunities where we were active in our Mercer County communities, such as the National Night Outs, Community fairs and much, much more.

     Many of our coalition activities involved our accomplished chair-woman, Justine Frank. Justine has served in the addiction and prevention communities for several years, and we have been honored to have her as our voluntary leader for the last 6 years. Her devotion to keeping our communities healthy and safe have been magnified by her planning amazing events such as three annual International Overdose Awareness Day fairs, several outreach events, where she spoke to hundreds of parents and families, and using her creativity to offer hope to those in need. We celebrated her service to the coalition and thanked her for her dedication. While she stepped down from the leadership of the coalition for health reasons, we know her heart and passion will still be with us!

     Our new Coalition Chairman is Joe Hadge, who is currently the Assistant Director of the College of New Jersey’s Alcohol and Drug Education Program (ADEP). We look forward to serving with additional leadership in the coalition as well with Judith Aptaker-Shine as our Vice Chairwoman, and an executive council. After a brief introduction, Joe took an opportunity to review our Logic Models and what we hoped to continue to achieve as a coalition and shared a parable for us to ponder and to inspire us to work as a team and support each other’s efforts. (See the parable here Do we have as much sense as a Goose? ) The Coalition has worked with Joe since its very beginning, and members of the coalition have worked with Joe at TCNJ in various programs, projects, and initiatives and we know he will continue to bring his passion and dedication to the leadership of the coalition!

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Staff & Board Family Holiday Dinner

IMG_2723 Holiday Dinner

A wonderful time was had by all at our Staff & Board Family Holiday Dinner.  We had the largest attendance this year and were able to celebrate with over 60 people, including staff and their families.  The food was fabulous! Malissa kept the kids (and adults) entertained with lots of fun games.  Gifts were given out and lots of laughs and family fun were shared by all.  We are truly blessed to work with such amazing people and this event allows us the opportunity to celebrate together.  Coming together in celebration is what makes this such an anticipated event each year.  Thank you to Jocelyn, Barbara, Catherine and our Board of Directors. 

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#GivingTuesday

giving_tuesday_201_20181126-164315_1 #GivingTuesday

Since 2012, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been recognized as #GivingTuesday as a response to consumerism after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  This is a day where we can give back to those in need and donate to organizations that make a difference.

 Make a donation today

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Lunch and Learn November 8th 12 - 1pm: No More Swiss Cheese - Filling the holes of emotional hurts with love so you regain your wholeness and shine!

Join Joanna K. Chodorowska for this lively discussion of how our emotional situations can become our biggest challenge resulting in symptoms of anxiety, despondency and compulsions.  Joanna will discuss her journey from athlete to exhaustion to business owner learning to release the unresolved and often buried layers of pain.  As we choose "loving", often of ourselves, we are able to fill the holes of pain with love, heal physically, mentally and emotionally so we can step forward into our full authenticity with gusto!  Joanna will share a demonstration of the Path To Heal energy work she uses to help identify and release these often buried emotional issues.

Joanna Chodorowska, BA, NC, TPTH, is a holistic sports nutrition therap[y coach, author and multidimensional healer helping you find balance and whole health - body, mind and soul.  She provides her clients with realistic, real food options that fit into their busy lives.  She helps athletes and non-athletes to become the fierce competitors of their own lives with loving at the core.  

Register for this lunch and learn here:   Register Here 

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Amazon will donate 5% when you use the link below

10x-amazon-smiles TIME IS RUNNING OUT
Support us when you shop AmazonSmile HAS INCREASED THE DONATION RATE FOR THIS WEEK ONLY!!!!! OCTOBER 29 - NOVEMBER 2.  REMEMBER TO USE THE LINK BELOW THIS WEEK AND INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF YOUR DONATION TO US FOR JUST SHOPPING!    Click Here to shop at Amazon and AmazonSmile will donate 5% to Mercer Council. While you do your shopping we are asking you to keep us in mind and select us as your charitable organization of choice. By using Amazon Smile this week while shopping it will donate 5% of the purchase price from eligible purchases.  Mercer Council is run primarily through grants and fundraising. Each year Mercer Council strives to create pathways to reduce substance related challenges through education, support, advocacy and partnerships throughout our community. We would not be able to do this without your support so please remember us when you shop and join us in envisioning a healthy, safe, and responsible community.Thank you for your support,Mercer Council
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Mercer Council and The Prevention Coalition Produce Parent PSA on Teen Brain Development

Research studies have shown that the human brain is not fully developed until some point our mid twenties.  Prevention science teaches us that delaying the first use of any substance until at least the age of 19 can significantly decrease the chances of having a substance use disorder in our lifetime.  These messages are important for everyone to know, however, it is particularly difficult to get this vital information through to parents.   As a Prevention Educator, I know getting in front of a group of parents can be challenging -- everyone's schedule is busy and parents are a difficult audience to pin down. 

This is why we created this PSA to be played in doctor's offices, pediatric dental practices, pediatricians, etc.  While parents are waiting for their child to be seen by a health practitioner, there is often a TV monitor in the waiting room.  What a great opportunity to educate them on the development of the teen brain!   We are excited to roll out this PSA throughout Mercer County and beyond!  Please help us promote it by asking your doctor and dentist to link it to his/her office waiting room!  Knowledge is power and it's also good prevention!

For more information on how to get this video link, please contact Barbara Sprechman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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First Annual Trenton Chess Fest Event

On Saturday, October 20th, Mercer Council and the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County held the first annual Chess Fest event at the Trenton YMCA.  Chess Fest is a family fun event that is free to all Mercer County youth interested in learning or playing chess.  The primary goal of this event is for children to develop an interest in an activity that engages their minds and lowers the chances of them engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse and violence.  "Chess helps children learn valuable life lessons including strategic thinking, delayed gratification and conflict resolution skills.  Not only is it an enjoyable game, chess is a healthy activity that aids in the development of logic, reasoning and problem-solving abilities."  said Hal Sprechman, chess instructor, coach and tournament director.  

Co-sponsored by The New Jersey State Chess Federation, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, Thrivent Financial and The Bank of Princeton, children received free chess sets, boards and carry bags as well as chess tee shirts and fun give-aways.  Lunch was provided and the space to hold the event was generously donated by the Trenton YMCA.  Watch for this annual event same time next year!  For further information on how to get involved in promoting this event for next year, contact Barbara Sprechman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

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ASYSST is open!

Great news! We are finally moved into our new space. The Available School Youth Service Support Team (ASYSST) was previously located outside the school in an adjacent building, and has moved inside the school!!  We could not be more excited to be conveniently located.  It makes us feel more involved with the school and the Students.  The transition was not an easy one, yet we pushed through and are adjusting quite well.

ASYSST has started some new groups, which we ave very excited about. They are the Black Student Alliance (BSA), the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).  ASYSST also has plans to run a Girl’s group called Sisters of a New Generation (SONG), a Boy’s group called Brothers of a New Direction (BOND) and a college prep group. We have a lot in store for the Students and are looking foward to an awesome year!

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First Chess Fest Event for Youth in Trenton October 20th

On Saturday, October 20th, Mercer Council will be co-sponsoring the first Chess Fest event for youth in Mercer County at the YMCA of Trenton.  Chess Fest is a family fun event whose primary goal is for children to develop an interest in an activity that engages their minds and lowers the chances thay they will engage in unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse and violence.  Chess helps children learn valuable life lessons including strategic thinking, delayed gratification and conflict resolution skills.  More than just an enjoyable game, chess is a healthy activity that aids in the development of logic, reasoning and problem-solving abilities, memory and concentration, visualization skills, critical thinking, patience and determination.

Chess masters and experts from around the area will play simultaneous chess games with children particpating in the event for awards and medals.  Instruction will be given for those youth who do not know how to play the game and free chess sets, boards and tee shirts will be distributed to the first 100 children to register. Youth in grades K - 12 that go to school in Mercer County are eligible to register for this free event.  Families are invited to join the festivities and watch the featured event:  The Human Chess Game, which will begin about 12:30pm.  This unique and fun event features children and chess experts as actual playing pieces on a life-sized chess board!  The event is co-sponsored by The New Jersey State Chess Federation, The Mercer County Prosecuter's Office, Thrivent Financial and the YMCA of Trenton. Register Here

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September is Pain Awareness Month

This September, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is observing Pain Awareness Month to educate and empower people living with chronic conditions that cause pain. Along with the many valuable opioids abuse resources on our website, we'd like to share with you additional information about pain management and how physician anesthesiologists can help safey and effectively manage pain from surgery, injury or chronic conditions.   If you are dealing with pain, we want to give you even more high-quality information straight from physician anesthesiologist, pain medicine specialists who are especially skilled and experiends in taking care of people with chronic pain.

Please take a few moments to look at the links below, it might make a world of difference for you or a loved one!

Chronic Pain: https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/pain-management/types-of-pain/chronic/Opioid Abuse: https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/pain-management/opioid-treatment/opioid-abuse/Opioid Treatment and Risks: https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/pain-management/opioid-treatment/Non-Opioid Treatment: https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/pain-management/non-opioid-treatment/
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40th Anniversary Benefit was a Success!

sign Thank You

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, I can not say it enough.  What a success we have had for our first Benefit Luncheon and Silent Auction!  We were able to raise more than $1000 for the Geetha Arulmohan Schollarship. 

Thank you to all who helped, attended, donated, and shared.  Here are a few photos from our event.

Jocelyn Cooper, Executive Director 

Antonia Lewis, Board Member

Nora Kashinsky, Retired Mercer Council

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Save the Date for Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day October 6th

Volunteers Sought For “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” October 6th

Volunteers are needed to participate in a “feet on the ground” grass roots effort to educate medical professionals and the public on the dangers of opiate abuse during a statewide initiative on October 6th called “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.”

“This statewide event is geared to educating medical professionals about the opiate addiction epidemic and what solutions are available,” said Barbara Sprechman, a coalition coordinator for Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. 

Sprechman said volunteers will be visiting doctors’ and dentists’ offices to promote the Centers for Disease Control guidelines about how medical professionals can safely prescribe opiate-based drugs.

“Whenever possible, medical professionals should be encouraging their patients to start with over-the counter pain medications to relieve their symptoms before prescribing opiate-based drugs.  Rather than prescribing 40 Percocet after wisdom teeth extraction, tell them to try Advil and prescribe only two or three pills.  Adolescents who are prescribed opioid pain killers are more prone to addiction later in life.”

If a teenager is prescribed opiate drugs before high school graduation, it raises the risk of future opioid abuse by 33 percent, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey.  The organization also stated that in 2012, health care professionals wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers, which is enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills. 

Sprechman said that the October 6th event is a grass roots effort to bring awareness of the opiate addiction, with people going door-to-door to medical offices around the county and also throughout the community.    “We want volunteers to collect the informational materials and then distribute them in their neighborhoods, their local gyms, everywhere!” 

For those interested in volunteering in Mercer County, please contact Barbara Sprechman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for materials.  Thank you for spreading this important message!

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Narcan Training September 20th

The Surgeon General VADM Jerome Adams has stated that "knowing how to use naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life". 

Every quarter, Mercer Council and the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County partners with JSAS HealthCare, Inc. to provide Narcan (naloxone) training to anyone interested in this lifesaving medication. This quarter, our training will be held on September 20th at 6 PM. This free training is offered to anyone in the community ages 15 and up, and is particularly important for anyone who is or is associated with someone who is taking prescribed opioids, uses opioids such as fentanyl or heroin, or is in the healthcare industry.  We encourage anyone who is concerned with a loved one, works with at-risk populations, or is just curious to understand how this medication works to attend this training.  This interesting, quick-paced class is less than an hour and a half long, and everyone who receives the training will leave with a kit containing a 4mg dose of Narcan, and instructions on how to refill their supply if needed. Registration is requested, as supplies are limited to the first 30 participants. Please register through our EventBrite here: Narcan Training Sept 20

Mercer Council is a provider and partner in prevention for over 40 years, and with the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County, they continue to provide and diversify prevention education throughout Mercer County.

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Day of Remembrance- IOAD Event

One of my first assignments at Mercer Council was the 2nd Annual International Overdose event, held last year in Hamilton. I received all of the registration calls, and with those calls, came stories of questioning, heartbreak, and hope.  I heard stories of sons and daughters taken too soon; of a young father leaving behind 2 and 4-year-old sons; a young girl experimenting for the first and last time, and some families who were hoping to never see their loved one overdose, but were worried and wanted support.This year, the township of Robbinsville hosted this event, and they took care of the registration.  I was disconnected from some of the stories, but they still made their way to me.  A son of a businessman gone, leaving his father to fight to educate others so they would never experience a loss like he did; a talented artist who, after his own recovery journey, is fighting to keep his daughter alive through her addictions, and many more.  On Tuesday, August 28th at this year’s event, Mark Manning, father of the late Christopher Manning, spoke about being part of “a club no one ever wants to be a part of”- the club of parents and family members left behind when their loved one dies of an overdose. Director Pedro Medina of the Trenton Police Department touched everyone in the audience with his perspective- both as part of the law enforcement community, and as a part of the “club”.  Director Medina spoke personally about the loss of his son and the impact on his life and family that this loss caused.  His son’s addiction started by using legally prescribed pain medication after a surgery.  This led to finding street drugs to feed his addiction, which eventually took his life- and breaking the hearts of those he left behind.  Adrienne Petta, a recovery warrior, and now Certified Peer Recovery Specialist spoke about her journey to recovery and her efforts to help others onto this path.  In addition to this year’s personal speakers, this event brought many powerful and influential policymakers and law enforcers.  Among the speakers were Congressman Chris Smith, the Prosecutor of Mercer County, Angelo Onofri, the Mayor of Robbinsville Dave Fried, NJ Senator Linda Greenstein, and Robbinsville Police Chief Chris Nitti. These speakers discussed what their role is in combatting substance abuse in the community- whether making laws to prevent the spread of dangerous substances or assisting those that have patterns of drug misuse find treatment instead of going straight to criminal proceedings.     In regards to helping stop the flow of people with addiction to prison, Chief Nitti stated that we can no longer “arrest our way out of this epidemic”.  Mayor Fried went into greater detail, describing the CARES program that began in Robbinsville, and now is available in all municipalities of Mercer County. This program offers alternatives to arrest through treatment and recovery. After the speakers, the group lit candles and followed a path lit by luminaries to a circle of remembrance.  Here loved ones could share their stories and remember those they love and lost. Family members, friends, and loved ones entered the circle of luminaries and expressed their experiences and feelings, while others reflected on the many emotions evoked by this evening.  The vigil ended with singing Amazing Grace.

This event was informative, moving and motivating. While the observation of International Overdose Awareness day offers hope, healing and encouragement, one of the most important things brought forward at this event is that those who have died from overdose were so much more than their death: these were children, husbands, and wives, who had talents, relationships, passions and experiences before their death was defined by overdose.  Events like these can only remind all of us of the individuals who are struggling with the disease of addiction, and help shatter the stigmas that are often placed on them.  

 

The official International Overdose Awareness day is August 31st. Mercer Council, the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County and the Prosecutor’s office have sponsored 3 annual observances under the One Voice Initiative.  These observances are held during the last week of August and will be in different municipalities every year.  This event includes many vendors in the addiction services and related fields that offer information and services to attendees.  

 New Jersey Strong released a video on our event- Further coverage was provided by WBCB News http://www.wbcbnews.com/blog/community-park-in-robbinsville-hosts-overdose-awareness-day/  We are also grateful to Brian McCarthy for his photo and video coverage of the event.  The Prevention Coalition and the Mercer Council are also providing a free Narcan (naloxone) training where one can be trained on the use of Narcan, and receive a dosing kit of this opioid reversal drug.   For more information, please contact Malissa Arnold at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and please follow the Prevention Coalition on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PCoMC  and subscribe to our blog at https://www.mercercouncil.org/news/blogger to learn more about several programs, classes, and events that we host monthly.  
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40-years-strong

Mercer Council is celebrating its 40th Anniversary!

Please join us on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 from 11:30am to 1:30pm at Leonardo's Restaurant in Lawrence Township and help us celebrate 40 years of service directed at building a healthier, safer and more responsible community! Our event will include a delicious full lunch and an opportunity to participate in our silent auction, which is a great opportunity to win a variety of amazing prize baskets and items.  If you would like to support our agency, mission and vision for the community, please purchase a ticket to this celebration!  Ticket purchases will help us to continue providing prevention education programs to individuals of all ages, as well as provide scholarships for individuals looking to get into the field of substance prevention, counseling, etc.  To purchase a ticket, please contact Lisa at (609) 3965874 x. 201.  If you can't make it to our event, but would like to donate, you may make a donation on our website here.  We appreciate your support and look forward to celebrating with you!

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Prevention Coalition of Mercer County and The Mercer Council Awarded Drug-Free Communities Continuation Grant

The Prevention Coalition of Mercer County has just received a Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program continuation grant to prevent youth substance use, including prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol.  The DFC program, created by the DFC Act of 1997 is the Nation’s leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use and is directed by the Office of the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Grants are provided to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use.

“Since our first grant awards were made in 1998, the DFC Program has continued to expand its reach in communities across the country.  It is a testament to the great work DFC coalitions are doing, together with community partner that include parent groups, schools, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, businesses, and others to prevent drug use and improve the health of communities,” said ONDCP Deputy Director James W. Carroll. “Our local DFC coalitions are a key part of this effort because they are relentless in their work to prevent youth from initiating drug use and ultimately, saving more lives.”

“For the past six years, our Coalition has been working hard to reduce youth substance use in communities throughout Mercer County. With the continuation of DFC support program funding, we will be able to continue this important work and keep our youth healthy and drug-free” said Barbara Sprechman, Assistant Executive Director of Mercer Council and Coordinator of the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County. 

The Prevention Coalition of Mercer County target priorities are underage drinking, prescription drug misuse, illegal use of marijuana and new and emerging drugs.   Past accomplishments of the coalition include helping to establish permanent medicine take-back boxes in every police department in the county, hosting educational forums on current drug-trends, best-practice approaches to combat the current opioid epidemic, as well as advocating for changes in policies and laws.  Prescription drug abuse prevention is one of the core measures of effectiveness for local DFC coalitions and coalitions nationwide have led innovative opioid prevention initiatives.  DFC’s 2017 National Evaluation End-of-Year report found that at least 97% of middle school and 94% of high school report that they have not misused prescription drugs in the past 30-days in DFC communities.

The Prevention Coalition of Mercer County is a group of diverse individuals from the community dedicated to the prevention and treatment of alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse problems.  The mission of the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County is to reduce substance abuse in youth and across the lifespan by collaborating resources and coordinating planning in order to offer opportunities for building a healthy mind, body and spirit for all residents of Mercer County.

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