Daytop honors Mary Mulholland with The Daytop Mary Mulholland Memorial Golf Classic

So many of us were fortunate to have Mary Mulholland in our lives. She benefited thousands with her tireless fundraising for many causes, including Daytop Village New Jersey. Mary passed away on June 6, 2013 at age 85, and she will be greatly missed.

In 1991, when Reverend Joe Hennen was looking for a way to get Daytop going in New Jersey, he recalls that “Mary Mulholland was at my side from the very beginning, and stayed there ever since; Mary is the reason that the Daytop program succeeded in Mendham, NJ. And she continued her tireless work on behalf of young people and their families struggling with substance abuse to the very end, having been Honorary Chair of this year’s golf outing!”

Whatever we needed, Mary was front and center, address book in hand. She was just tenacious, providing her incredible energy and compassion on behalf of our kids.

Our 2013 Golf Invitational was recently postponed, because Mary was our Honorary Chariperson of the event. Now, in concert with the Mulholland family, we are pleased to honor Mary’s contributions to Daytop by renaming The Golf Invitational as The Daytop Mary Mulholland Memorial Golf Classic.

The event will be held at the Morris County Golf Club on Monday, July 22, 2013. Our new Co-Chairs of the event are Ernie Larini and Dennis O’Brien. Schedule changes for the day are also in order:
    Registration at 10 am
    Lunch from 10:30 am to 12 noon   
    Shotgun start at 12:15 pm
    Reception and dinner beginning at 5:30 pm

For anyone who doesn’t know, Mary was Morris County’s fund raiser for good causes, including efforts to benefit the poor, the homeless and addicted adolescents. Mary was a graduate of the College of Saint Elizabeth, and received many honors, including two Presidential Point of Light Medals, The Ecclesiastes Medal from Pope John Paul II, The Governor’s Award, The New Jersey PRIDE Award, The NJ State Senate Award, The Woman of the Year from the United States Secret Service, New Jersey Medical Society, New Jersey Bar Association, Girl Scouts of America, 200 Club, New Jersey Judges Association, Chief of Police Association of New Jersey, The New Jersey State Troopers, Grand Marshall of Morristown’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Irish American Society, Medical Society of Morris County, Honorary Member of the United States Special Operations for her work on behalf of the Military and their families, Lifetime Achievement from the Morris Country Chamber of Commerce and the Dover Rotary, Lifetime Achievement Award from St. Clare’s Heath System and Humanitarian of the Year and Lifetime Achievement for Hope House, a Division of Catholic Family and Community Services, Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Paterson and for Daytop New Jersey.
The Mulholland Family has generously asked that donations in memory of Mary Mulholland be sent to Daytop New Jersey, ATTN: Karen Horn, 80 W. Main Street, Mendham, NJ 07945.


A Good Day to Fight Heroin Use in New Jersey

After knowing yesterday that there were two very significant events in our fight against heroin abuse in the State of New Jersey, I picked up the Bergen Record this morning to see each story was given its proper due. I am thankful that Governor Christie signed The Overdose Prevention Act into law. The result is that overdose victims and those that call 911, even if they too were using illegal drugs, will not be arrested. The intent of the new law is to save lives and saves lives it will, after the citizens of New Jersey learn about it. I am also thankful that the Governor’s staff has a plan to get the word out. The second story entitled “A short drive, a quick fix”, describes a major heroin bust that took place yesterday in northern New Jersey where 100 people, both users and dealers were arrested.

As the Executive Director of Daytop Village of New Jersey, Inc, a substance abuse and mental health treatment organization that specializes in rehabilitating young people addicted to opiates, I stand and cheer Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli when he says “we are never going to arrest our way out of the narcotics issue.” Where he misses the mark is thinking that posting the names and photos on the county prosecutor’s website would deter would-be heroin users. Heroin use rapidly becomes an addiction as New Jersey has the dubious distinction as having the most potent heroin in the nation. Therefore our young people have a disease and effective treatment, as with any other disease, is the only deterrent to relapse. In my thirty years of working with heroin abusers I have rarely seen someone’s path to addiction begin with heroin use which means by the time she or he arrives at that very dark place, so much of the brain has been rewired, causing the cravings for that “state of mind” can only be arrested with highly effective treatment.

The arrest in Bergen and the signing of The Overdose Prevention Act are two encouraging signs that our state officials do get it when it comes to needing a comprehensive and unified approach to this plague which is rapidly destroying young people, families and our communities.


Every Kid Deserves a Chance

Something we all in the treatment field have come to understand is that, incarcerating young offenders just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work by any means of measurement.

In a recent newswire feed from NJAMHAA the New Jersey initiative named Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative JDIA, which changed the way the judicial system treated juvenile offenders, drives this point home. Instead of filling the county detention centers, in some cases pushing occupancy to 115%, court officers pursue alternatives to incarceration as the first course of action. As a result of this, now an 8 year initiative, all participating New Jersey counties have realized over 50% reduction in juvenile detention facility utilization.

“New Jersey is the only state to be designated a national model for detention reform by the Casey Foundation. This designation was bestowed upon NJ in late 2008 as a result of the impressive outcomes New Jersey has achieved since JDAI inception.”

Read full report …

The takeaway here is that while fewer of our states’ kids are being incarcerated, there has been no measurable increase in community risk and substantial cost savings have been realized. In a few counties, they were able to close their juvenile detention centers and repurpose them to address the needs of at risk youth.

While our state’s leadership in the treatment of young offenders is commendable, there is still a considerable amount of work to be done. We hear from parents in many forums throughout the state that there are still barriers to accessing drug treatment services. All of us that are involved in treatment services, whether direct delivery or consumers of services need to continue to advocate for greater access to services. We all know that “treatment works and recovery is real”.


Heroin use increase among NJ suburban youth poses additional health risks:

So many States have finally figured out that the prescription drug abuse craze requires swift action. And by swift action I mean legislation and tighter regulation, cracking down on the misuse of drugs like Oxycodone and other prescription painkillers.

We in the substance abuse prevention and treatment field have started to see the results of these actions. I am sorry to say that gains made from tighter controls are resulting in an alarming increase in heroin abuse. In New Jersey I am seeing heroin use increase by mostly suburban teenagers and families are being torn apart because of it. This is not to say that efforts to control and monitor the prevalent misuse of prescription painkillers throughout society should cease but rather be aware that there is a direct correlation with increased heroin use.

… additional health risks

Heroin use among our young people could very well result in higher HIV and Hepatitis C infection rates. Many of the young people that I talked to today are clueless to the HIV epidemic we saw in the 1980s and 90s. They don’t remember “AIDS as a death sentence”. They were either too young to remember or not born yet.  The Center for Disease Control reports an alarming number of people that go undiagnosed after becoming infected with HIV and/ or Hepatitis C. While it is true that HIV is now a manageable disease, infection still leads to a host of other opportunistic illnesses. Let us not forget that left undiagnosed and treated, HIV and Hepatitis C remain responsible for millions of deaths annually worldwide.

Communities, schools, churches, families, government and the medical profession need to pool resources to roll-out a large scale prevention, education and treatment initiative. Let’s learn from our mistakes from the past and not wait for another epidemic to rear its ugly head!


NJ Gov. Chris Christie signs bill effectively changing how New Jersey deals with drug users:

The bill Gov. Christie signed a new bill into law, changing the way New Jersey’s criminal justice system deals with drug users to putting more emphasis on treatment rather than prison time.

"Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law Thursday that changes the way New Jersey’s criminal justice system deals with drug users to put more emphasis on treatment than prison time.

The new law expands eligibility for the state’s drug court program and mandates that nonviolent, drug-dependent offenders receive treatment rather than prison time. It phases in the program over a five-year period.” 



US government reassesses priorities in the Global War on Drugs

In a recent NY Times article attention is drawn to the ongoing debate about the efficacy of the government’s War on Drugs.

The treatment community has long realized that spending billions on interdiction and eradication programs abroad was wasted money. What needs to be done is provide more money for treatment and education here at home.

As evidenced at a recent New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, hosted by Daytop of New Jersey at our Mendham campus, the alarming trend is no longer drugs smuggled across our borders but rather prescription pain medications manufactured right here in the USA.

 NJ Governor Christie understands the problem and has focused his efforts in developing more treatment options and early intervention programs; let’s hope the Feds get it too.


Prescription drug abuse on the rise on college campuses

In a recent article published in US News and World Report Health section, a study on prescription drug abuse, depression and suicide was cited. This national study, soon to be published, is just another wakeup call that there is a severe problem with nonmedical use of prescription drugs among our transitional age youth.

Read more:


Prescription Medication Abuse and Heroin Abuse Skyrocketing Nationwide

Mayor Bloomberg has been focused on combating obesity and unhealthy eating and drinking habits. Small sodas may help out but one thing is for sure, His Honor has surely been successful drawing attention to the overweight problem in NYC.

I take no umbrage with his effort in taking this on. However, why can’t we as a society pay much needed attention to the prescription medication crisis? Beyond the terrible abuse that begins at home in the medicine cabinet, or is picked-up from the kid sitting next to our sons and daughters in the local high school, prescription medication is leading to the skyrocketing of heroin use by young people across the country. Click on the link below to read a very compelling story from today’s New York Daily News.

Compelling because awareness is needed by parents, school teachers and society in general. Far too many parents are losing their sons and daughters and not enough of us are talking about. For information and to watch a video:


Woody Johnson, Owner of the New York Jets, Stepped Up to Help the Kids of Daytop New Jersey

We at Daytop New Jersey are extremely honored to have held such a successful event last Wednesday evening at Met Life Stadium where Woody Johnson was honored. Woody received the Spirit of Daytop award at our annual gala.

We are very fortunate to have the support of many individuals and corporations and we are grateful for their assistance.  At Daytop New Jersey, we believe that one individual does not make a team; one citizen does not make a country strong and a lonely drug user cannot become healthy. We need each other to succeed, and this phrase exemplifies what makes Woody Johnson’s Jets, a team, and it is what has made our dinner such a success. Mr. Johnson’s commitment to our cause gives strength to those whose minds and hearts are weakened in their battle with substance abuse.

My colleagues and I who lead nonprofit substance abuse treatment and education programs  understand that without funds raised privately, keeping our doors open is becoming more challenging than ever.



Bath Salts: Federal Govenrment Needs to Take Swift Action

The recent bizarre incident in Miami that has been sensationalized over the past week, has at least brought much needed attention to this serious problem, on a national level.

Both the House & Senate have passed bills banning this deadly drug. Now more than ever Congress needs to ensure the passing of bill that protects the American public from the manufacturing, Sale & distribution of this deadly substance.

Cited from an ABC online news article today.

"The number of calls to poison centers concerning "bath salts" rose 6,138 in 2011 from 304 in 2010, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. More than 1,000 calls have been made so far this year."…