BERNARDS TWP., NJ –  The Bernards Township Municipal Alliance Against Substance Abuse and Ridge Against Alcohol & Drugs (RAAD) will publicly present “Out of the Mouth of… Teens 2!” on Wednesday as part of a youth-focused effort to combat alcohol and drug use and abuse by local teens.

Wednesday's presentation is part of a series that has featured RAAD, a youth leadership group based out of Bernards Township, with teens themselves talking about the problem, and offering some suggestions about what parents can do.

This program is scheduled to take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in the main meeting room at the Bernards Municipal Building, located at 1 Collyer Lane in Basking Ridge.

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Last year’s “Out of the Mouth of… Teens!” was inspired by RAAD’s “Action Plan” developed during the group's annual weeklong leadership conference with the Lindsey Meyer Teen Institute (LMTI). At LMTI, groups of teenagers from around the state learned peer-to-peer leadership skills to create community level change in their individual towns.

RAAD determined that the one of the biggest problems in Bernards Township was parents and other adults serving alcohol or allowing alcohol usage in their homes for teenagers to consume, according to the municipal alliance. With “Out of the Mouth of…Teens 2,” students living in Bernards Township will have the opportunity to speak up for themselves about this issue and others in the community. 

The first presentation was well received, and was publicly lauded at Bernards Board of Education meetings.

New topics also being discussed

“This year we are focusing on the issue of underage drinking as we have in the past but we wanted to bring new issues to the forefront,” said RAAD co-president Gloria Smith. The two new topics that will be discussed this week will include the issue of addiction and how it affects families; and also the need for parents of students of any age to talk to their children about drug use and abuse, Smith said.

Even parents of elementary and middle school students should address the program, she said. "The earlier the conversation starts, the better. ”

The program this year will include: 

·         A video of interviews with younger Bernards Township students.

·         A presentation on addiction and how it affects children and families. 

·         A “mini panel” session featuring a student from each grade level about the stresses of school and drug and alcohol trends aan interactive question and answer session.

·         A presentation on SAMHSA’s “Talk, They Hear You” with EmPOWER Somerset.

·         An overview on last fall's program, “Not in MY Basement: The Reality of Allowing Underage Drinking."

·         Statements from local experts on the issue of teen substance use. 

·         An interactive question & answer session.

All presentations have taken into account the views of many Bernards Township students, but will be presented by RAAD students, according to information from the municipal alliance.

RAAD is sponsored by the Bernards Township Municipal Alliance, Governors Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and the Somerset County Youth Services Commission and Board of Chosen Freeholders. More information on the program can be found at www.bernardsalliance.org

The mission of the Bernards Township Municipal Alliance Against Substance Abuse is to provide consultation, programs, training and resources to members of the Bernards Township community with the goal of preventing and reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs through education, support of events and programs and presence in the community. For more information, visit www.bernardsalliance.org.