The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-New Jersey convened its third class of advocacy leaders at a two-day retreat in Trenton on October 1 and 2. The 2010 Leader Class added 24 members to the advocacy program, bringing the total to 80 people representing 32 of the state's 40 legislative districts. The leadership program is part of NCADD-NJ's Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap Initiative.
Over the two days, state and national presenters trained the leaders on subjects including health insurance parity, addiction components of the federal health reform, and messaging. On Friday evening, each new leader was presented with a resolution from their legislators in recognition of the commitment they were making to advocacy and education on issues surrounding addiction, treatment and prevention. In addition, 2008 Class member Karen Barnet received an award named for a friend, Ronald "Blue" Bowman, who had worked in her community to combat youth drug use and was murdered. Mr. Bowman was made an honorary member of the 2010 Leadership Class.
Presentations included one by the Legal Action Center's Gabrielle de la Gueronniere, who focused on CATG and Parity, and another by the Director of the Division of Addiction Services Raquel Jeffers, whose emphasis was on the Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act and the Recovery Zone. NJ Prevention Network Executive Director Dianne Litterer covered prevention and reclassifying alcopops to generate new state funding for treatment programs. Advocacy basics were presented by Tom Coderre, Linda King, and Aaron Kucharski.
The 2010 Leaders' next training will take place at the State House in Trenton, where they will put into practice some of the techniques they have been taught as they meet with their legislators.