NEWTON, NJ—Over 160 people fromall over New Jersey met in East Windsor on Thursday, in support of the drug prevention efforts that have been going on throughout the state.

Diane Litterer, CEO and Executive Director of New Jersey Prevention Network and Valerie Mielke, Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services welcomed everyone to a day of “inspiration, education and of sharing successes," according to Annmarie Shafer, the Coalition for Healthy and Safe Communities Coordinator with the Center for Prevention and Counseling in Newton.

Andy Peterson and Kristen Gilmore Powell from Rutgers University, who “assist in providing data driven support to prevention coalitions," according to  Shafer, “encouraged the crowd that they are moving in a positive direction to improve policies and practices that support drug prevention in New Jersey.”

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Dorothy Chaney of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America provided an update to the best strategies and solutions to the opioid epidemic and Tony Coder from Smart Approaches to Marijuana was “informative and innovative with information that many people can utilize to encourage safer communities.”

Sussex County was represented and celebrated by Vernon Coalition members; Rosemary Gebhardt, Walnut Ridge Principal; Janet Kubik, Vernon Coalition Chair; Matthew and Michael Kubik, Above the Influence Vernon Coalition Youth Group members joined by Vernon Coalition Senior Coordinator, Rebecca Dorney and by Blaze Dorney and Melissa Weaver, Vernon Coalition Youth Group staff.

Also attending were Nick Loizzi, Sussex County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Director /Municipal Alliance Coordinator along with Shafer. Both The Vernon Coalition and the Healthy and Safe Communities Coalition are programs of The Center for Prevention and Counseling that “encourage everyone to get involved who are interested in offering time or resources to address drug-free lives.”

The agenda included shout outs to the Garden state for the “passion and work that prevention people offer to making our state a great place to live”, reported Shafer. “This day was a testament to all the work being done throughout our state improving the lives of youth, bringing awareness to prevention efforts that are available for New Jersey citizens and offered a sense of comradery to everyone making a difference by supporting drug-free living.”

To learn how to get involved or more about the prevention coalitions in Sussex County, contact The Center for Prevention and Counseling at (973)383-4787 or go to