NJTV held its fourth forum in its Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis initiative at the Boys & Girls Club of Newark on Wednesday. Close to 125 people attended the forum, which was livestreamed on NJTV’s website and remains available for viewing at njdrugcrisis.org.
Prior to the forum, NJTV hosted a special screening of NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams first “In Your Neighborhood” show, broadcasting on-location at the B&G Club. This new show format is the first in a series of on-location stops NJTV News will be making across the state over the next year.
NJTV News correspondent Michael Hill was joined by health professionals, law enforcement officials and experts, as they discussed the complexities of and options for addiction treatment and recovery. NJTV News Correspondent Briana Vannozzi conducted one-on-one interviews with individuals about their stories of living with/around substance abuse disorder.
The panel included previously announced former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey; Earl C. Lipphardt Jr., MA; and Dr. Indra Cidambi, as well as Dr. Christopher Johnston, Medical Director, Endeavor House; andJohn Brogan, Chief Recovery Specialist for CARES, “Prevention is Key” in Morris County, and the Harp Program – Ocean County Prosecutors Office.
In addition, Captain Gary. B. Nash, Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Lt. Juan Colon, State Police – ROIC Unit and Debra Wentz, New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Services, provided their expertise on the topic. Audience members shared their personal stories of recovery and engaged the panel on questions about treatment options.
NJTV commissioned two poets – Dr. Grisel Acosta, Bronx Community College-CUNY Assistant Professor, and Marjorie Barnes, Union County College Associate Professor of English – to attend the forum and will write original poetry from the stories shared during the evening. The poets will share their work at the Dodge Poetry Festival (Oct. 20-23) and speak at a session that will discuss how real-life news and reporting can translate into art. The session will also highlight Terra Incognita, the June original theater production by the Center for Investigative Reporting and George Street Playhouse, inspired by NJTV News‘ Toxic NJinvestigative series. NJTV will launch a broader call for poem submissions from the public that are based on stories of treatment and recovery.
NJTV’s Development Director Sarah Rosen and Communications Director Deb Falk were also in attendance. NJTV’s Community Engagement Director Selma Betancourt, MS coordinated the multi-faceted event. NJTV News’ Brendan Smyth filmed the livestream coverage.