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Bridgewater Raritan Town Hall Meeting

The Cycle of Pills to Heroin: Drug Trends in Our Community

Thursday, May 15th at 7:00 pm

Bridgewater-Raritan High School auditorium

The Safe Communities Coalition of Somerset County  is partnering with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, Bridgewater Police Department, Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Somerset County Sheriff’s Office,  Raritan Police Department and EmPoWER Somerset  to hold a Town Hall Meeting titled “The Cycle of Pills to Heroin: Drug Trends in Our Community” on Thursday, May 15th at 7:00 pm in the auditorium of Bridgewater-Raritan High School at 600 Garretson Road in Bridgewater.

The Town Hall Meeting will feature a showing of the original documentary, From Pills to Heroin: The Domino Effect, produced by the Safe Communities Coalition,  with interviews and true life stories from local residents who have been affected by prescription drug and heroin addiction. The documentary screening will be followed by an interactive discussion and question and answer session with a panel of experts, law enforcement, community members, and film participants. This event is open to all and pre-registration is not required. Parents and students in grade 8 and above are especially encouraged to attend to  learn about local statistics and what they can do to prevent drug and alcohol abuse in the community.

For more information about this event, contact the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 908-722-4111 or visit www.bridgewaterpd.com

According to the 2014 report recently released by the Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use Among New Jersey’s Youth and Young Adults, the abuse of heroin and other opiates is the biggest health care crisis currently facing our state.  The number of treatment admissions for prescription drug abuse has increased by more than 200% over the past five years, and nearly 700% over the past decade.  The leading cause of accidental death in the United States, previously motor vehicle accidents, is now attributed to drug overdoses.

The “From Pills to Heroin” documentary was created in response to the growing problem, in an effort to raise awareness, educate the community and call to action for the safe disposal of unused/expired prescription drugs.  This documentary can also be viewed online by visiting the Safe Communities website at www.safecoalition.org.

The Safe Communities Coalition of Somerset County meets every third Tuesday from 9:30 to 11:00 am at Raritan Valley Community College. Anyone interested in helping to reduce and prevent substance abuse in Somerset County is welcomed to attend.  The goal of the Safe Communities Coalition is to foster a safe and healthy community by eliminating drug use, underage drinking and prescription drug abuse.  Through wide-spread community collaboration, environmental change, and community education in Hunterdon and Somerset counties, the Safe Communities Coalition will address areas of concern including, but not limited to, reducing Rx drug abuse across the lifespan, underage drinking, tobacco, marijuana, heroin, and other drug use.  For more information on the Coalition, visit their website at www.safecoaliton.org.

Click here to view the event flyer

Click here to view the documentary “From Pills to Heroin: The Domino Effect”

Smokescreen or Clean Stream – You Be the Judge

Free workshop on the topic of e-cigarettes

Click here to view the flyer

Wednesday April 30th from 9:30 to 11:00 am

27 Warren Street, Somerville in the First Floor Conference Room

Light Breakfast Provided

 To register – Contact Lucille Young-Talbot at ytalbot@co.somerset.nj.us or 908-203-6077

This free educational workshop for professionals will feature presenters from the Somerset Medical Center Tobacco Quit Center and New Jersey GASP. This workshop is being offered by the Regional Chronic Disease and Cancer Coalition of Somerset / Morris County in partnership with EmPoWER Somerset and the Safe Communities Coalition of Somerset County to help professionals in the field stay as informed as possible about this increasingly popular trend in tobacco use.  The workshop will explore:

  • E-cigarettes: what they are and how they are used
  • Safety and health issues
  • Role in proven smoking cessation treatment programs
  • Regulatory concerns & enforcement issues under New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act



Families Invited to Day of Fun and Learning!

Click here to view the flyer

Friday, April 25th from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm at the

Education Building of the College of New Jersey located in Ewing, NJ. 

Families are invited to take part in a “Celebrating and Strengthening Families Fun Day” – open to all and especially encouraged for parents and children ages 3 to 5 from Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Burlington Counties. This free event will include fun activities for children such as face painting, balloon animals, games and stories. A free lunch and snacks will be provided, and participants will also have the chance to enter free raffles to win exciting prizes including a top prize of $100.

The day will also offer interactive workshops for parents to learn valuable skills to support their children’s development.  Parents will have the opportunity to meet others from their community and connect with their local Family Success Center. The Empower Family Success Center is one of four Family Success Centers partnering to provide this free event to families to promote positive parent child interactions and bonding in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.

To register to attend this free event, contact the Hunterdon Family Success Center at 908-237-0465 by April 16th with your name, county and number of people attending.

Click here to view the flyer

Family Success Center March Calendar

Check out the all that the EmPoWER Family Success Center is offering during the month of March!

Click here to view the March 2014 calendar

Click here to visit the Family Success Center website

Bernards Township Town Hall Meeting to address “The Cycle of Pills to Heroin: Drug Trends in Our Community”

The Bernards Township Municipal Alliance in conjunction with the Ridge High School PTO, William Annin PTO, Bernards Township Police Department, Safe Communities Coalition, and EmPoWER Somerset is hosting a town hall meeting entitled, “The Cycle of Pills to Heroin: Drug Trends in Our Community” on Thursday, March 13th at the Ridge Performing Arts Center in Basking Ridge, NJ.  This meeting is intended for parents and general members of Bernards Township and surrounding communities. Students are also invited but limited to grades 8 and above. A viewing of the Safe Community Coalition’s documentary “From Pills to Heroin: The Domino Effect” will be viewed. An interactive panel discussion of local experts will follow the documentary viewing as well as a question and answer session. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the event to learn about local statistics and what they can do to prevent substance abuse in the community.

Click here to view the flyer

Click here to view the documentary “From Pills to Heroin: The Domino Effect”

EmPoWER Somerset January, 2014 newsletter

Click to  view our January, 2014 newsletter!

Girls Circle Professional Training Opportunity!

EmPoWER Somerset is partnering with Friends of Somerset County Youth and the Somerset County Office of Youth Services to bring an exciting professional development opportunity to Somerset County. The Girls Circle 2-day training will provide youth service professionals with 13 CEU hours approved for LCSW’s, LPS’s and others, an excellent value for the $350 cost of registration. Participants will get acquainted with the Girls Circle Program and learn skills for effective program facilitation.  This training is made possible through a grant from the New Jersey Department of State, Office of Faith Based Initiatives.

Click here to view the flyer and registration information

Thursday, May 1st – Friday, May 2nd

8:00 am to 8:30 am registration

8:30 am to 4:30 pm training

Somerset County Human Services Building

27 Warren Street, Somerville, NJ 08876

Family Success Center February Calendar

Check out all the great things happening at the EmPoWER Family Success Center in February!

Click here to view the February Calendar!

Click here to view the February Event Descriptions!

Click here to visit the Family Success Center website!

Adolescent Enrichment Conference

Adolescent Enrichment Conference Invitation Flyer

Adolescent Enrichment Conference and Resource Fair

for adolescents, ages 14 – 21, seeking help planning for their future!

Thursday, March 13, 2014
10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Raritan Valley Community College
Conference Center
118 Lamington Road
Branchburg, NJ 08876

Complementary lunch and free raffle prizes!
Community partner representatives, including EmPoWER Somerset and the EmPoWER Family Success Center will will be available to provide free information about planning for college, financial aid and scholarships, career options, housing and much more.

This program is offered by:

New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Child Protection and Permanency

Hunterdon County Children’s Interagency Coordinating Council (CIACC)

and several Community Partners

Featured Letter: Brenda Esler, EmPoWER Somerset Executive Director

This is the third in a series of letters from Somerset County officials on the dangers of underage drinking, and county initiatives to help combat the problem. Originally printed in the Courier News on 11-21-2013

A holiday plan: If you drink, don’t drive

Today I am thankful for designated drivers.
Thirty days of thanks is an uplifting idea in which we share the many things we are thankful for, often on Facebook or other social media, leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday at the end of the month. I’d like to express my thanks and gratitude for one person who plays an important role in the community, especially during the Thanksgiving season — the designated driver. In my work at EmPoWER Somerset, a nonprofit organization that assists individuals and families in making positive lifestyle choices and fosters healthy, drug-free communities through education, collaboration and linkages to resources, I was surprised to learn that Thanksgiving eve (not New Year’s Eve, as I had originally guessed) is the holiday associated with the highest rates of drinking and driving.

With the arrival of the holidays, of course we are looking forward to a diversion from day-to-day stresses, and it is not a surprise that alcohol is often involved. In planning your night out, however, please don’t overlook one important detail in the excitement of the celebration: What is your  plan for getting home safely? If the answer is “I will be fine after only a few drinks,” “I’ve gotten home safely many times before,” or “I’ll figure that ut later,” please think again. A designated driver is a person who does not drink for the evening — not the least intoxicated person in your  party. If you have managed to drive home safely after a few drinks in the past, that was luck — not a good predictor of future success.

The first three things to be impaired by drinking are your balance, coordination and judgment. Yes, even your judgment about how off-balance  and uncoordinated you are. Make the decision not to drive before your judgment is clouded by alcohol. If the worst-case scenario car crash never happens, there are plenty of other reasons not to risk it such as surcharges, loss of  driver’s license, classes (that you will have to pay for) and the
embarrassment over having your name in print. How would you handle the unexpected costs and inconvenience of not driving and the disappointment of family and friends? Think about these things — they can all be avoided. Ride Home 2Nite and the HERO Campaign are two  resources to help you plan ahead by locating a taxi ride home or through friends by pledging to be the designated driver — not drinking any alcohol for the evening. Both campaigns emphasize exercising good judgment before it is impaired by alcohol. For more information, visit empowersomerset.com and click on the program icons or call us at 908-722-4900.

Who else knows that Thanksgiving eve has the highest rate of drunk driving? The cops, of course. They will be out that night too. We hope you will be a HERO or Ride Home 2Nite in a taxi, not a patrol car. Be thankful for the opportunity to think with a clear mind and plan ahead to drink  responsibly. Be thankful for the designated driver in your group who is making sure that you are not endangering others on the road, including
your own passengers, and that you get home safely.

Brenda M. Esler

The Safe Communities Coalition of Somerset County works to foster a safe and healthy community by reducing drug use, underage drinking and prescription drug abuse. For more information, visit www.safecoaliton.org