As you read this, our agency is turning 38 years old. And if I may so say, we look marvelous!
Here’s a little historical perspective. We were incorporated in February, 1980 as the Middlesex Council on Alcoholism to provide an information/referral helpline and introduced Mr. Chugs, an alcohol prevention program for elementary school.
Housed at Middlesex General Hospital (now Robert Wood Johnson Hospital,) our Middlesex county branch began operations without funds, but with a dedicated group of volunteers. The activities of the agency time included training; events in school settings; seminars at Perth Amboy General, Middlesex General, and South Amboy Memorial Hospitals; programs for numerous community groups; in-service training for various county agencies; co-sponsorship of the first statewide conference on Alcohol Problems and the Criminal Justice System; and a countywide seminar on alcoholism for the clergy. Services continued until funding became scarce and in 1977, the Council was forced to close down its operation.
1979 was a rebirth of the community's concern that alcoholism education/prevention services were needed in the county. An ad hoc committee was formed from among members of the South Brunswick Family Services Advisory Group and application was made to the New Jersey Alcoholism Association to establish the Middlesex Council on Alcoholism.
In 1987 the agency is renamed Middlesex Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; at this time, drugs other than alcohol were incorporated into all programming. And, in 1993, the agency’s name is changed to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) of Middlesex County, Inc. We underwent the last name change in 2016.
In 2003 we introduced Footprints for Life, a new prevention curriculum developed by NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc. The program is nationally recognized and is currently being implemented in many locations nationwide. The same year we formed the Middlesex County Substance Abuse Coalition, the most comprehensive collaborative group addressing substance abuse in Middlesex County. And 12 years ago, we partnered with Carteret Public Schools to create Pathways, Carteret’s School-Based Youth Services Program, a safe, structured environment within the school to address the social and health needs of students.
In 2009, NCADD launched a unique program offering a series of online training courses geared towards teachers and other educators. To date, that program has provided trainings to over 1,700 individuals who seek to become addiction counselors.
For 38 years our agency has identified community needs and met those needs with creativity and persistence. We have served hundreds of thousands of individuals through the wide array of programs we provide. We’re especially proud of the fact that we’ve served tens of thousands of schools children, presented to thousands of community members, and participated in hundreds of community events.
The agency was identified by the NJ Department of Human Services as the local prevention resource center. We are a leader in providing quality prevention education programs, community presentations, leading advocacy efforts, and establishing coalitions to address specific needs in the community.
Today, our agency continues its substance use prevention, education, and advocacy efforts.
We’ve grown to a staff of 20. We’ve expanded our services to Monmouth County. We’ve been fortunate to have been awarded several important grants, especially the implementation of efforts to stem the use of Opioids by women, tackling the misuse of prescription and over-the-counter by high school athletes, and the provisioning of two Substance Use Navigators in the County.
I realize that celebrating a 38th anniversary is not on anyone’s list of major lifetime events. But when I walk into our offices every day and watch the staff prepare for that day’s activities, I am heartened by their devotion and dedication to their job. I think they deserve a moment of your time to recognize their achievements.