The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT), in collaboration with the Essex County Prosecutors Office and the Essex County Division of Community Health Services, hosted the first ever Essex County Community and Interfaith Symposium on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 from 8:30 am until 12:30 pm at the Essex County Hospital Center, 204 Grove Avenue, Cedar Grove, NJ 07009. The event was sponsored by AmeriHealth, New Jersey. 

At the Community and Interfaith Symposium, faith-based leaders from throughout Essex County, New Jersey saw presentations discussing substance abuse prevention and treatment-related topics. In addition, they received resources and recommendations to support members of their congregation, community, etc. dealing with substance use and/or abuse. Presenters included Essex County Acting Prosecutor Carolyn Murray and Chief of Detectives Anthony F. Ambrose, Addictions Training Specialist Tony Polizzi, Founder of Integrity House David Kerr, and the New Jersey Mental Health Players from the Mental Health Association in New Jersey.   

“Many individuals turn to a leader within their faith-based community in times of need or to find support. ADAPT, the Essex County Prosecutors Office, and the Essex County Division of Community Health Services believe that faith-based leaders left the symposium with tangible resources that can provide immediate support to their congregation,” stated Joel Torres, ADAPT’s Senior Coordinator. “Faith-based leaders are an integral piece to increase accessibility to substance abuse prevention and treatment throughout Essex County. They bring a unique perspective that will help increase the health and wellness of community members throughout the county.”

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Faith-based leaders who would like more details about the outcome of the symposium and/or other substance abuse prevention efforts, contact Joel Torres at 973-323-3907 or


ADAPT is a diverse coalition of more than 100 volunteers, including parents, youth, educators, prevention professionals, law enforcement officials, etc., from all over Essex County. Through community-level interventions, ADAPT strives to decrease underage drinking and prescription drug abuse/misuse by all residents throughout Essex County while also empowering all residents to choose healthier lifestyles.

ADAPT is funded by the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (NJ DMHAS) and the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). It is managed by FAMILYConnections, a non-profit community-based agency with more than 35 specialized programs for all ages from infants to seniors – including counseling, skills-building, training, and prevention services to improve quality of life by reducing child abuse, drug abuse, gang involvement and crime; by increasing social & coping skills, school success and employability; by healing emotional pain and helping individuals and families become strong and independent.