Coalition Blog

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Ongoing News and Information from the Wellspring Center for Prevention Coalition
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...
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13 Hits
SEP
09
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Overdose Awareness Day 2018 in South Amboy

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By Jenna Lynn Bonstein, Preventionist I In 2018, the number of people dying of an accidental overdose are rising at a rapid rate. In the United States, we lose 174 people a day to an accidental overdose. That is 174 daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, grandsons, granddaughters, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends that we have to find a way to mourn and live without every day. This is killing more people than AIDS/HIV epidemic outbreak in the 80’s. “Just say no” didn’t work. The stigma has kept people stuck, sick and not asking for help. We want change, but not just one person can do anything when it comes to a monster this big. We need to come together and fight this battle like an army going to war. On August 30th, South Amboy put on a FEDUP rally and Overdose Awareness event at the South Amboy Middle School...
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SEP
05
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Dunellen Overdose Awareness Day 2018

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I On August 31, thousands of individuals across the country will commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day, a day to remember those we have lost in the fight against addiction, those who are still suffering, those in recovery, and their loved ones. Overdose Awareness Day provides an opportunity to bring light to a public health crisis that is often highly stigmatized by and seen as personal moral failure. In Middlesex County alone, as of January 1, 2018, there have been 125 suspected overdose deaths, 533 Naloxone administrations, and 220, 225 opioid prescriptions dispensed (NJCARES, Office of the Attorney General 2018). Each of these deaths were preventable, and raising awareness and education about the dangers of substance use – particularly opioid and prescription medication – is critical in helping to curb the crisis. International Overdose Awareness Day is observed worldwide and aims to increase this awareness and reduce...
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AUG
21
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Coalition & Local Communities to Observe International Overdose Awareness Day

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The Middlesex County Coalition for Healthy Communities, in collaboration with Dunellen and South Amboy, will host special Candlelight Vigils and Name Reading Ceremonies in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day on Friday, August 31. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. Overdose Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. Globally, there is an estimated minimum of 190,900 premature deaths caused by drugs (range: 115,900 to 230,100). Opioids account for the majority of drug-related deaths and in most cases such deaths are avoidable. Drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016. Nearly two-thirds of these deaths (66%) involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Overdose deaths increased in all categories of drugs examined for men and women, people ages 15 and older, all races and ethnicities, and across all...
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192 Hits
JUN
25
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Syringe Access Program Stigma Still Exists

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By Gina Miraglia, Wellslpring Preventionist In October of 2017, the Trump Administration declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. In response, the department of Health and Human Services of the US government announced a 5-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis. However, a recent study showed that there is less support than expected among Americans to reduce the risk of overdose and infections among opioid users using evidence-based strategies. In the June issue of Preventive Medicine journal, a study of over 1,000 American adults expressed their views on syringe access programs (SAPs) and safe injection sites. The study revealed that “only 29% of respondents supported legalizing safe injection sites in their communities and only 39% supported legalizing [SAPs] in their communities.” Those with unsupportive views were also found to have negative views about opioid users. Though this study exposed unfavorable views about these opioid epidemic tactics, it was still...
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161 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...
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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...
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67 Hits
MAR
07
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CADCA’s Annual National Leadership Forum – My Story

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By Melisa Damcevska, Wellspring Preventionist Whether you are new to the prevention field or have been working in it for decades, CADCA’s annual National Leadership Forum is a powerful sight to be seen. Personally, it was my very first time attending, and I will be forever grateful that I was able to attend because of how eye-opening and empowering those four days in National Harbor, Maryland were. Prevention, for people not involved in the field, is a highly misunderstood topic. We as prevention specialists are constantly asked, how do you prevent something like this from happening? How do you possibly know it works? Why should I worry about a few kids underage drinking when the opioid epidemic is killing thousands a week? And that is exactly why we need prevention. To stop the epidemic before it even begins. CADCA’s National Leadership Forum brought together about 3,000 individuals all working towards...
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436 Hits
MAR
05
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2018 Young Women’s Conference Recap

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By Karli Rymer, Wellspring Intern On February 28th, 2018, Wellspring Center for Prevention hosted the 14th annual Young Women’s Conference, My Journey, My Voice: Empowering Young Women, in New Brunswick, NJ. It was a day filled with interactive and educational workshops that provided students with an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and emphasized the importance of life and social skills. The goal of the conference is for the attendees to return to their schools and share the information with the rest of the student body through different programs and/or events. The day began with provided breakfast and an amazing production, Lost Angels , performed by the Playground Theatre Project. This outreach program production touches on bullying, violence, racism, sexism, drug/alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide. The piece brings up issues current in today’s society and the struggles that young people face in their everyday lives. The student’s in the play learn...
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592 Hits
JAN
24
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Be Smart about Medicine Display Makes the Rounds

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By Jenna Bonstein, Preventionist I We are excited to launch our Be Smart about Medicine contest in Middlesex County middle schools again this year. This effort is designed for students to educate and spread awareness of the dangers of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs (Rx). The artwork is relatable to middle school teens since it is designed by peers at their age level to explain the risk factors for abusing prescription and OTC drugs. Be Smart about Medicine is a creative expression contest that middle school students engage in spreading an educational message to the public about the dangers of RX and OTC drugs. Prescription and OTC drugs can be very potent strong and can have a dramatic effect on the way the body works. This is especially true of drugs are not taken as directed. Of special interest is that fact that teen prescription drug abuse can result in...
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677 Hits

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