Barbara's Blog

Save-the-date International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held one day during the last week in August each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.  Knowing the real facts about drugs and what to do ...
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6th Annual Excellence in Prevention Awards Event

    Mercer Council and The Prevention Coalition of Mercer County are pleased to announce their 6th Annual Excellence in Prevention Awards breakfast to be held on Wednesday, June 12th.  This annual event honors those individuals, agencies, associations and companies from around the county that have made significant contributions over the past year to ensure the health, safety and wel...
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Lunch and Learn May 21st: How to Shop for CBD Products - Can they be dangerous?

  Thousands of the cannabis products line store shelves, but determining what’s safe is up to you.  What factors should you consider when purchasing these products to ensure safety?  What do you need to know about CBD and in what form should it be used?  Is it important to know where it was grown and how much THC it contains?  Find out the answers to these questions and mo...
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Hey Parents! It's Alcohol Awareness Month!

When we know better we do better.  For example, did you know that teens who use alcohol before age 15 are  SIX TIMES  more likely to become alcohol dependent than those that begin drinking at age 21?  We also now know that the brain is still developing until age 24-25 and can be damaged by just a few episodes of binge drinking.  Some parents today still think it's oka...
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Mercer Council Co-hosts Marijuana Forum with Rider University

On April 17th, over sixty people attended a public forum at Rider University on marijuana.  As the New Jersey legislature considers a bill to legalize the commercial use of marijuana, this forum highlighted  the expertise of three individuals:  Dr. William Kernan, Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Public Health at William Paterson University and Research Director for Un...
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Don't Forget to Get Rid of Your Old and Unused Rx Drugs on April 27th from 10am - 2pm!

On Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local Police Departments and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its 17th opportunity in nine years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to any police department in Mercer County or the Mercer County Sheri...
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Community Surveys Count!

Community surveys are one of the most important tools used by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions around the country to collect vital data about behaviors, perceptions, attitudes and beliefs of their community members.  This information evaluates the on-going work of the Coalition, in order to make sure its members are truly making an impact and reducing substance misuse in our county.   Our ...
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The Other Side (Guest blogger Cy K. Jones)

Most people who know of Mercer Council only know part of the story.  If they put the Council and children or teens together in the same conversation, most people usually think in terms of prevention.  How nice, we are going to engage the youth, find ways to inform them, their parents, teachers, counselors and the universe at large about the perils of being involved with a virtual galaxy ...
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Marijuana: Weeding Out More of the Truth 2019

marijuana Marijuana: Weeding Out More of the Truth 2019
Recreational marijuana legalization is a hot button issue in New Jersey this year.  In order to make informed decisions on policies that protect our most vulnerable populations and local communities, we need to stay up to date with current research and findings from around the country.  Join us for an important conversation about this issue, with featured speakers: Dr. William Kernan, Pr...
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Now Accepting Applications for the 2019 Geetha Arulmohan Scholarship Award

This education scholarship is in the amount of $500. It is available to Mercer County residents (or individuals attending school in Mercer County) pursuing education/certification/licensure in the fields of prevention, social work, counseling or substance related challenges (i.e., CADC, CPS, LCADC, CPRS, CRSP or bachelors degree in the fields of social work, public health, psychology, etc). It was...
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Free TIPS training for On Premise service of alcohol being offered March 27th

The Prevention Coalition of Mercer County and Mercer Council is very pleased to offer a responsible alcohol beverage server training called TIPS on March 27th from 12pm - 5pm at Landmark Americana in Ewing.  It is free to all Mercer County licensed alcohol beverage retailers and their bar/wait staff.  The focus of this evidence-based training is on responsible consumption of alcohol and ...
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Wellness Lunch and Learn on Internet Gaming Disorder March 26th

Mary-Kate Hardy, MS, NCC, LAC of High Focus Centers will be giving a lunch and learn at Mercer Council on March 26th on the topic of Internet Gaming Disorder:  A Guide to Video Game Addiction.  This presentnation will explore the impact of video games on functioning and identify the pros and cons of online game playing.  She will also discuss ways for professionals to identify if a ...
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Community Advocacy Workshop January 15th from 1:00 - 3:00pm

Join us for a free Community Advocacy workshop facilitated by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, New Jersey State Affiliate as they discuss how to partner with individuals, families and communities to promote recovery, and how members of the community can get involved.  Sharpen your advocacy skills and communicate your passion for prevention, treatment and recovery! ...
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Opioid Use for Pain Management Across Generations

A recent study by the American Society of Anesthesiologists has revealed interesting information on how various generations deal with pain management.  When we look at Millienials (ages 18-36), Gen Xers (ages 37-52), Baby Boomers (ages 53-71) and the Silent Generation (ages 72-92) we see marked differences.  Baby Boomers are two times more likely than Millennials to have used opioids to ...
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Lunch and Learn November 8th 12 - 1pm: No More Swiss Cheese - Filling the holes of emotional hurts with love so you regain your wholeness and shine!

Join Joanna K. Chodorowska for this lively discussion of how our emotional situations can become our biggest challenge resulting in symptoms of anxiety, despondency and compulsions.  Joanna will discuss her journey from athlete to exhaustion to business owner learning to release the unresolved and often buried layers of pain.  As we choose "loving", often of ourselves, we are able to fil...
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Mercer Council and The Prevention Coalition Produce Parent PSA on Teen Brain Development

Research studies have shown that the human brain is not fully developed until some point our mid twenties.  Prevention science teaches us that delaying the first use of any substance until at least the age of 19 can significantly decrease the chances of having a substance use disorder in our lifetime.  These messages are important for everyone to know, however, it is particularly difficu...
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First Annual Trenton Chess Fest Event

On Saturday, October 20th, Mercer Council and the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County held the first annual Chess Fest event at the Trenton YMCA.  Chess Fest is a family fun event that is free to all Mercer County youth interested in learning or playing chess.  The primary goal of this event is for children to develop an interest in an activity that engages their minds and lowers the c...
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First Chess Fest Event for Youth in Trenton October 20th

On Saturday, October 20th, Mercer Council will be co-sponsoring the first Chess Fest event for youth in Mercer County at the YMCA of Trenton.  Chess Fest is a family fun event whose primary goal is for children to develop an interest in an activity that engages their minds and lowers the chances thay they will engage in unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse and violence.  Chess hel...
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September is Pain Awareness Month

This September, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is observing Pain Awareness Month to educate and empower people living with chronic conditions that cause pain. Along with the many valuable opioids abuse resources on our website, we'd like to share with you additional information about pain management and how physician anesthesiologists can help safey and effectively manage pain fro...
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Save the Date for Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day October 6th

Volunteers Sought For “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” October 6th

Volunteers are needed to participate in a “feet on the ground” grass roots effort to educate medical professionals and the public on the dangers of opiate abuse during a statewide initiative on October 6th called “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.”

“This statewide event is geared to educating medical professionals about the opiate addiction epidemic and what solutions are available,” said Barbara Sprechman, a coalition coordinator for Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. 

Sprechman said volunteers will be visiting doctors’ and dentists’ offices to promote the Centers for Disease Control guidelines about how medical professionals can safely prescribe opiate-based drugs.

“Whenever possible, medical professionals should be encouraging their patients to start with over-the counter pain medications to relieve their symptoms before prescribing opiate-based drugs.  Rather than prescribing 40 Percocet after wisdom teeth extraction, tell them to try Advil and prescribe only two or three pills.  Adolescents who are prescribed opioid pain killers are more prone to addiction later in life.”

If a teenager is prescribed opiate drugs before high school graduation, it raises the risk of future opioid abuse by 33 percent, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey.  The organization also stated that in 2012, health care professionals wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers, which is enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills. 

Sprechman said that the October 6th event is a grass roots effort to bring awareness of the opiate addiction, with people going door-to-door to medical offices around the county and also throughout the community.    “We want volunteers to collect the informational materials and then distribute them in their neighborhoods, their local gyms, everywhere!” 

For those interested in volunteering in Mercer County, please contact Barbara Sprechman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for materials.  Thank you for spreading this important message!

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