FLEMINGTON, NJ -- Hunterdon Drug Awareness Program (HDAP) held its 14th annual Client Graduation recently. The non-profit agency based here, which provides a variety of drug abuse prevention and counseling services, hosts the event to congratulate and encourage clients who have passed major milestones on their road to recovery.

This time, more than 20 clients graduated and each had the chance to tell in their own words about their rise out of addiction. And this demonstrated that there is hope for those who suffer, noted Jass Pelland, HDAP Acting Executive Director.

More than 120 people attended the event, held at Razberry’s Banquet Center in Kingwood Township, including the graduates, friends and relatives; HDAP staff and board members; and representatives of county departments and agencies that support HDAP’s efforts. Also at the ceremonies, a former HDAP client named Kristin E, with 10 years in recovery, spoke on how long-term recovery is possible.

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Another highlight was recognizing Glenn Duncan, who was HDAP Executive Director for 15 years until leaving last summer, with the Frank P. Masterson Jr. Award. It’s given annually to some person and in this case went to Duncan for his contribution both personally and professionally in Hunterdon and statewide assisting individuals find recovery. He is nationally renowned for his work helping training professionals entering the addiction assistance profession and now operates Advanced Counselor Training, LLC, providing a clinical supervision workshop series and other behavioral healthcare education.

Masterson, who was the Lambertville police chief for many years, was among a small group of south county residents who came together in 1977 to figure out a way to offer a local substance abuse treatment option after the region suffered multiple drug-related deaths of young people. The eventual outcome was HDAP and Masterson served on its Executive Committee for many years. Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-23rd) presented Duncan with a proclamation from the state Senate and Assembly recognizing his multiple contribution to help individuals who need recovery.

Mary Hanley, HDAP Director of Prevention, presented community service awards to those “Active for our Angels, recognizing Kathy Defilippis, Josephine Sari, Theresa Matay and Betsy Snel. They were cited for their outstanding community involvement after losing a relative or friend to overdose and in particular fundraising efforts for HDAP in 2017 and 2018.

HDAP is a licensed outpatient and intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment facility, located at 8 Main St. in Flemington, serving the area including Somerset and Warren counties as well as Hunterdon. It is also the Hunterdon County Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center. For more information go to hdap.org or call 908-788-1900.