Part of the network’s Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis initiative, poems serve to share experiences and perspectives on the addiction epidemic.

Submission deadline now December 31, 2016

Poems GraphicUPDATED November 16, 2016 – NEWARK, NJ– NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, announced an open call for original poetry about the impacts of drug addiction. 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.

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.

“Our Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis community engagement initiative aims to share critical information, ideas and solutions to this important addiction issue in a variety of ways,” said NJTV General Manager John Servidio. “Broadening the project to include creative, public storytelling like this is an intriguing way to dig deeper into the issue in a very personal way, and allows more people to share their experiences with others.”

Those interested in submitting a poem as part of the project may log on to njdrugcrisis.org/poems for more information.  Deadline for submissions, previously November 30th, is now December 31st. Submissions will be reviewed and posted on the initiative’s website, njdrugcrisis.org, and potentially used on other platforms and may be incorporated into the next Healthy NJ event this December.

Recently, 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). Founded in 1977, CIR uses the arts and innovative storytelling practices to engage audiences with investigative journalism.  Acosta’s and Barnes’ finished pieces will be posted on the website along with the public submissions.

NJTV’s year-long Healthy NJ: New Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis community engagement initiative utilizes the network’s broadcast and online resources to spotlight what New Jersey is doing to tackle heroin, opioid and other drug use and to reduce the number of overdose deaths. The project covers all aspects of addiction, prevention, treatment and recovery, and shares stories of struggle and success to educate and inform the community.

Central to the initiative are the website, njdrugcrisis.org, and a series of community forums which NJTV is hosting 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.

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

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


About NJTV

NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to all 21 counties in New Jersey and its tri-state neighbors. NJTV presents acclaimed PBS series such as Nature, Charlie Rose and BBC World News America and children’s programs with diverse local programs including American Songbook at NJPAC, On the Record with Michael Aron, Driving Jersey, NJDocs, Due Process, One-on-One with Steve Adubato, Classroom Close-Up NJ and State of the Arts. The network’s flagship news broadcast, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams, features stories from across the Garden State.

NJTV, headquartered at the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Newark with additional studios at the Trenton State House and New Jersey City University as well as university content bureaus across the state, strives to engage the community and increase public awareness of critical local issues. Its most recent community outreach initiative, Healthy NJ: News Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis, combines community forums, news reporting and a resource-driven website to help combat the state’s heroin and opioid overdose crisis. The NJTV website offers online programs and free digital resources for educators.

NJTV is comprised of WNJN, WNJS, WNJB, and WNJT, which collectively broadcast throughout NJ. NJTV is operated under an agreement with the state of New Jersey by Public Media NJ, Inc. (PMNJ), a non-profit affiliate of WNET, parent company of award-winning New York public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21. Network sponsorships and partnerships are available.

About CIR

Founded in 1977, The Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation’s first independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization dedicated to public service journalism. CIR empowers the public through groundbreaking investigative storytelling that sparks action, improves lives and protects our democracy. The stories CIR tells hold the powerful accountable and uncover information that would otherwise remain hidden from the public – revealing injustices, exposing threats to public safety, protecting vulnerable communities, championing human rights, speaking out against environmental degradation and shining a light on government fraud and waste of taxpayer funds. CIR’s reporting also exposes the intersection of power, money and politics and the impact of failures of accountability for vulnerable populations and underserved communities. CIR is the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, winner of 2013 and 2015 Emmy Awards and a 2013 George Foster Peabody Award, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 (for local reporting) and 2013 (for public service).