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APR
10
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Wellspring Holds Kick Butts Day at South Brunswick & Dunellen High Schools

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Written by Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand up and speak out against Big Tobacco. Several years ago, Kick Butts Day was focused on reducing and preventing cigarette use by calling out marketing techniques used by tobacco companies. This year, the focus has shifted to the prevention of e-cigarettes, as Big Tobacco has taken on a new form and method of marketing. Did you know that almost 18% of high school seniors in Middlesex County reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days? Kick Butts Day gives youth the opportunity and power to stand up to Big Tobacco for their own health and wellness. Kick Butts Day 2019 took place on March 20th this year, with over 1,000 schools and communities across the United States and across the world participating. In Middlesex County, Dunellen and South Brunswick High School...
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  38 Hits
38 Hits
MAR
14
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Perth Amboy and Woodbridge E-Cigarette Presentations

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or “vapes” has skyrocketed in the past several years, particularly among adolescents who view the behavior as much safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. The perception held by many is that e-cigarettes cannot be harmful because they contain only water and flavoring, and products can be bought that are labeled “nicotine-free” and “organic”. This perception, along with marketing techniques of the c-cigarette industry, has some arguing that a new generation of smokers is on the rise. Big money tobacco companies have already invested in the up-and-coming e-cigarette companies, like Altria – the maker of Marlboro – investing $12.8 billion in Juul, an e-cigarette company whose net worth is valued at $38 billion and controls 75% of the e-cigarette market. (Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/20/altria-takes-stake-in-juul-a-pivotal-moment-for-the-e-cigarette-maker.html) With flavor options from mango to mint to chocolate to apple juice and cotton candy, to everything in between, the...
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  82 Hits
82 Hits
DEC
14
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What You Need to Know and How to Talk to Your Kids about Vaping

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I The popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or “vapes”, has exploded over the past several years. Introduced into the US marketplace over a decade ago, the use of these devices has skyrocketed, particularly among youth. Vaping, according to a Partnership for a Drug-Free Kids, is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol or vapor from an e-cigarette device. The term “vaping” comes from this vapor that is released, different from the smoke emitted from a traditional cigarette. These devices consist of four main parts: a cartridge to hold the e-liquid, a heating element known as an atomizer, a battery, and a mouthpiece to inhale (Partnership for a Drug-Free Kids). Vaping was originally intended as a less harmful option for adult smokers; however, the craze has quickly been adopted by youth across the country for a variety of reasons. Boredom, curiosity and the urge to experiment, the...
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  276 Hits
276 Hits
NOV
13
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Coalition Community Survey Now Available Online

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The Middlesex County Coalition for Healthy Communities is seeking feedback with its on-going community survey about substance misuse. Mara Carlin, Coalition Coordinator, said the survey has been conducted for the past eleven years. “We survey anybody in Middlesex County who is 18 or older,” she said. “Then we compile the data and give feedback back to the Coalition members on what we found and that helps us shape what kind of issues we want to try to address in the community through our awareness and education programs.” Some of the programming will focus on things like social norms campaigns. Carlin gave the example of how previous surveys may have responses where the perception is that much of the youth drink or smoke. “Even though people perceive that’s what happening, that’s not the case,” Carlin said. “The Coalition is also able to take the community survey data and compare it to student...
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  234 Hits
234 Hits
SEP
14
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Piscataway High School Back-to-School Night

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I The end of summer, the drop of the temperatures, and the start of a new school year also means schools are hosting annual Back-to-School Nights. These are annual events where parents and guardians are given an opportunity to experience the daily steps their children take while at school. Wellspring Center for Prevention hosted a table at Piscataway High School’s Back-to-School Night earlier this month. The staff came armed with information about substance use prevention and mental health promotion. Parents were able to collect valuable information and community resources right at the school. For many parents and youth, high school is a time of transition, growth and self-discovery, as well as a time where the susceptibility to substance use may skyrocket as youth begin to figure out who they are. Having these tools and information is critical to keeping students and parents informed and ultimately, healthy. At...
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  358 Hits
358 Hits
AUG
09
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Wellspring Helps Celebrate National Night Out 2018

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Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I For the past 35 years, annual National Nights Out across the country have been held in order to strengthen partnerships between police and the community, raise neighborhood morale and comradery, and create safer, more active communities. In Middlesex County, New Jersey, the vision is no different. National Nights Out events were held several communities throughout the county including Dunellen, Middlesex, Spotswood, Metuchen, South Brunswick, Milltown, South River, Piscataway, as well as Asbury Park in Monmouth County, among many others. Community members were given the opportunity to explore resources their own town has to offer, meet and interact with others, and engage in games, activities, and plenty of food. Wellspring staff was on hand at several of the Night Out events, armed with information about substance use prevention, as well as anti-stigma campaigns for substance abuse, information specifically for youth athletes and opioid use, and free giveaways and...
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  358 Hits
358 Hits
JUN
29
0

Wellspring Staffer Recognized by Old Bridge BOE

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist Caption: Old Bridge Superintend of Schools David Cittadino presents Jenna Bonstein with a Certificate of Appreciation for her work in the community According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 115 people die every day in the United States after overdosing on opioids, from prescription pain relievers to heroin to more powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl (NIDA 2018). 115 people every day dying from a cause that is 100% preventable if prevention and education begins early enough. That is where Jenna Bonstein comes in. A Preventionist at Wellspring Center for Prevention and a peer recovery coach at Woodbridge Addiction Recovery Mentorship Program. Jenna, a life-long Old Bridge resident, has seen both ends of the addiction continuum from early prevention all the way into maintaining recovery. Jenna has been an incredible advocate for opioid overdose prevention by sharing her own story of addiction with over 800 parents...
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  462 Hits
462 Hits
MAY
14
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Prevention Week at South Brunswick High School

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By Melisa Damcevska. The week of May 14th to May 19th marks SAMHSA’s 6th annual Prevention Week, a week that is solely dedicated to increasing the prevention of substance use and promotion of mental health. This year’s 2018 theme is “Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow” reminding all of us that the choices we make today will have consequences later on in life. Individuals, organizations, coalitions, and communities are encouraged to spread information and raise awareness to the prevention of substance use and the importance of mental health and wellness. Each day of the week focuses on particular topic: promotion of mental health, underage drinking, prescription drug and opioid misuse, youth marijuana and illicit drug use, prevention of suicide and prevention of youth tobacco use. South Brunswick High School is just one of the schools and communities across Middlesex County participating in Prevention Week. Students wrote letters to their future selves titled “Dear...
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  590 Hits
590 Hits
MAY
09
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Be Smart About Medicine Awards Dinner 2018

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I Every day, 2,000 teenagers take a prescription drug recreationally for the first time . Whether through self-medication or a lack of awareness of the risks, prescription drug abuse among adolescents is a growing and serious problem. To help raise awareness about prescription drug misuse among adolescents, the Coalition for Healthy Communities of Middlesex County has orchestrated its annual “ Be Smart About Medicine ” poster contest. Middle school students in grades 6-8 throughout Middlesex County are encouraged to submit artwork, whether through a written story or poem or a drawing, to showcase their freedom of expression as well as spreading valuable information to their peers. At the conclusion of the contest, three winners for first, second and third place are chosen for each grade, and these nine students are honored at the Annual Be Smart About Medicine Awards Dinner. This year, The Coalition for Healthy Communities...
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  267 Hits
267 Hits
APR
17
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Wellspring Participates in South Brunswick Mental Health and Wellness Fair

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By Melisa Damcevska On April 6, 2018, South Brunswick high school’s 3,000 students were treated to a school-wide Mental Health and Wellness Fair, placing a much-needed emphasis on mental health, substance use, nutrition, and overall wellness. Support services and agencies from all over New Jersey were represented; students were able to participate in trivia games to show their knowledge, ride a bike in order to power a blender to blend their own smoothies, as well as receive information and resources about where to get help if they themselves or someone they know needs it. To entice students to speak directly to vendors and visit tables, students who visited four tables or more were entered in a raffle for a chance to win various prizes. Wellspring Center for Prevention provided a table with information about underage drinking, vaping and e-cigarettes, marijuana and other drugs, as well as providing resources for mental health....
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  465 Hits
465 Hits

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