Year-long initiative includes community forums, comprehensive web site and topical news reporting about what’s working – and what work needs to be done– to help New Jerseyans struggling with, and affected by, drug addiction

First community forum to be held March 29th in Toms River

NJDrugAddiction3March 17, 2016 – Newark, NJ –NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, announced the launch of a new year-long, multi-platform community engagement initiative, Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis, aimed at raising awareness and promoting discussion about the state’s drug problems and solutions.

In New Jersey, close to 6,000 individuals have died from drug overdose since 2004.  A recent report from the Drug Enforcement Administration found that nationally drug overdose deaths killed more people than car accidents and firearms.

NJTV will use its broadcast and online resources to spotlight what New Jersey is doing to tackle heroin, opioid and other drug use and reduce the number of overdose deaths. The Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis project will hone in on all aspects of addiction, prevention, treatment and recovery, and share stories of struggle and success to educate and inform the community.

Central to the initiative are an upcoming project website, njdrugcrisis.org, and a series of community forums which NJTV will host throughout the state to convene the public, community partners, business leaders, policy makers and medical experts to discuss a road map for dealing with drug addiction and recovery.

The first of NJTV’s Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis forums will be held in Ocean County on Tuesday, March 29th at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Toms River NJ from 7– 9pm (doors open at 6:30pm).

“Through this initiative, NJTV is looking to engage with local communities on a very grassroots level, get a dialogue going about the state of our state when it comes to the drug crisis, and find out first-hand what’s being done, and what work still needs to be done to combat it,” said NJTV’s General Manager John Servidio. “Combining our discussions with citizens from parents to policy makers with local media coverage and public television’s comprehensive platform, we’ll build resources to serve New Jersey for years to come.”

The network’s weeknight news program, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams, has already begun a series of segments about the key issues surrounding the drug epidemic, highlighting the controversies, policy choices, successes and failures. Stories are available to watch on NJTV’s website, and featured on social media. Viewers are also encouraged to ask questions about what they want to know about the crisis and have our reporters investigate using the NJTV News  “Ask Away” microsite.

This initiative is made possible with major funding by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and additional support from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. Some of the organizations collaborating on this effort are the Community Foundation of New Jersey, Junior League of NJ – State Public Affairs Committee, New Jersey Drug Policy Alliance, Mental Health Association of NJ, New Jersey Prevention Network, and Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention, among others.

For more information about NJTV’s Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addition Crisis Initiative or to join our efforts, please contact Selma Betancourt, MS at 973-233-8398 or  email betancourts@njtvonline.org. Learn more about NJTV and its programming at https://www.njtvonline.org/.


NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to New Jersey and its tristate neighbors. A nonprofit affiliate of WNET, the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, NJTV presents such acclaimed PBS series as American Masters, Nature, Charlie RoseDownton Abbey, and BBC World News America and a range of documentaries and children’s programs. NJTV offers an array of local news and cultural offerings on air and online including American Songbook at NJPACOn the Record with Michael AronDriving Jersey/Here’s the Story, NJDocsDue ProcessOne-on-One with Steve AdubatoClassroom Close-Up NJ and State of the Arts.

The network’s weeknight news broadcast, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams, features stories from across the Garden State. NJTV complements its growing news staff by partnering with state-wide media and higher education institutions.  Network studio facilities in the heart of New Jersey’s largest city, Newark, and the Trenton Statehouse, are complemented by university content bureaus, for statewide coverage and community engagement. NJTV goes beyond television to connect with viewers across all media platforms, including online, where users can stream hundreds of public television programs and local educators can find free, classroom-ready, digital resources through PBS Learning Media New Jersey.