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About the Crisis

NJTV challenges members of the public to write an original poem about how addiction has affected themselves or their family.  The poem could be about a person’s own experiences with addiction and recovery, how drug abuse has affected his or her family, a memorial to someone lost to an overdose or other related experience. The poetry initiative is part of the network’s year-long community engagement project addressing the Garden State’s opioid and heroin overdose epidemic, entitled Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis.

In addition to submissions from the general public, two local professional poets, Grisel Acosta and Marjorie Barnes, have been involved with NJTV’s Addiction Crisis initiative, attending the network’s most recent community forum at the Boys & Girls Club of Newark in early October. From their observations at the forum, they were challenged to write creative pieces that were read as in-progress works during the Dodge Poetry Festival at a session coordinated by The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR). The call for poems portion of NJTV’s Addiction Crisis initiative is made possible by a grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Each poetry submission in this site, and any statement or opinion expressed therein, is the work of its author, and does not reflect the views or opinions of NJTV.  Some material may contain graphic content.

Share your story of a struggle with addiction — be it your own story, or the struggle of a friend or family member.
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  • By submitting this form (your “Submission”), You represent, warrant and agree that (i) the information you have provided is truthful to the best of your knowledge, (ii) NJTV may share your Submission with its affiliated stations, THIRTEEN and WLIW (collectively with their parent company WNET and all affiliates, “WNET”), (iii) WNET may use your Submission, in whole or in part, in all manner and media, including but not limited to the Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis project, including companion materials and ancillary platforms (the “Project”), and Project and institutional promotion and outreach, (iv) your Submission may be edited for brevity or inappropriate content, and (v) you possess or have obtained the rights necessary to grant the foregoing permissions.

Roy Mccready

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire , United Kingdom

Lady Destiny By Roy Mccready Skeptical of my being I stand confronting fear As age old memories decline to surrender to yesteryear Crawling through the voids to the grey lands of my mind Rivers of ...

Katie Calvacca

Hamburg, NJ, United States

Unexpected Love by Katie Calvacca I take a breath and close my eyes and give thanks to the Lord Who hears our cries. In my mind, rewind back to the time when I didn't believe, ...

Annmarie Shafer

Newton

I SEE MY SON By Annmarie Shafer I see my son in the young boy playing soccer with his team on the school field I see my son doing homework, feeding his cat, ...

Alicia Cook

Toms River, NJ, United States

In October, Alicia Cook was prominently featured on the documentary NJTV series Here's the Story. The episode, entitled A Family Disease, focused on addiction's Direct effect on families. To view ...

Loren O'Donnell

Whippany, NJ, United States

"The following four poems were written by my daughter Molly O'Donnell. We lost her on April 8, 2016 from a heroin overdose. It was her wish and now my mission ...

Sheldon Kleiner

New York, NY, United States

"The Land of Nod" By Sheldon Kleiner Rub your nose and don't suppose you'll rub your nose no more Feeling sick and feeling fine How could this be? At the same time? Smoking fags and feeling queer People ...

Barb J. Lemasters

Hackettstown, NJ, United States

"I wrote this when I was struggling with alcohol addiction and depression. When I was in despair it was easier to tell everyone I was fine than to listen to ...

Grisel Acosta

New York, NY, United States

"For "Poppy Fire Harvest," I wanted to follow the journey of the poppy – from its Mediterranean birthplace to how its processed and refined form has come to be part ...

Marjorie Barnes

North Plainfield, NJ, United States

"My poems “Addiction Riff” and “Maafa Trilogy,” focus on the impact that drug addiction has on families, and how it often tears families apart. In the poem “On Being Thirty-three,” ...

Gil Fagiani

Astoria, NY, United States

BLOOD OATH I never resigned myself to being a junkie never put myself on the same level as the fiends in East Harlem where I live, that scurvy bunch selling their babies’ jewelry for ...

Gary Harry

London, EN, United Kingdom

"It put a huge smile on my face seeing that you are working to create more awareness about drug use and addiction. I strongly believe that as a global community ...

Robert Henhaffer

Williamstown, NJ, United States

Detox Unit by Robert Henhaffer I work just beyond the shore line where nurses patrol the sand and pull the half floating bodies out of water. It’s a terrible thing to believe the world flat and want ...

Jill LaZare

Summit, NJ, United States

"Dear Brooke, I miss you. It is so difficult to act like it (losing you) is okay around people when it isn't okay at all. But until I can be with you, ...

Kelly Pearce

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, United States

Thinking of You by Kelly Pearce Day by day and sometimes, Hour by hour My thoughts speak to you. What is in your mind And your heart And your soul, As you sit In your final moments Of life and ...