Keeping Kids Safe with Prevention in
In the above photograph, standing from left to right is Chief James W. Collins, Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly Yaede, Deborah Minnick, the Hamilton Alliance Against Substance Abuse Coordinator, Hamilton Township L.E.A.D. Police Officers Kristin Seitz and Sal Figueroa as they recognize HAASA and the Police Division’s efforts against substance abuse on International Overdose Awareness Day.
On the heels of International Overdose Awareness Day (August 31) as kids prepare
to return to school, Hamilton Township’s efforts to keep kids safe through
substance abuse prevention and education efforts is ready for the start of another
armed with an active Hamilton Alliance Against Substance Abuse (HAASA) municipal
commission and a proactive Police L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs),
Hamilton continues its mission of keeping kids safe by promoting healthy
“Our children are our
most precious asset; and that is why beginning as early as first grade, our Municipal
Government works along with our schools to help keep our children safe by
promoting healthy lifestyles,”
explains Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly Yaede.
Efforts in Schools
has served as the official Township coordinating body for the planning,
awareness and education of substance abuse prevention efforts on Alcohol,
Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD’s) since 1991.
Using a State grant for alcohol prevention measures, some of HAASA’s programs
(School) Prevention Services –
to help empower children with life skills to resist the threats of alcohol and
tobacco use, this program partners with CampFire New Jersey to reach elementary
Tree Middle School Prevention Clubs
- to educate a core group of students to then pass information along to their
classmates regarding the dangers of underage drinking.
Awareness/Fatal Vision –
which is designed to motivate young
people to avoid using alcohol, to teach skills to resist social influences to
drink and to educate students about the dangers of alcohol abuse
Prom/Graduation Campaign –
focusing on the negative consequences that can occur with underage drinking,
binge drinking, and drunk driving, as well as to reduce the number of alcohol
related fatalities during prom and graduation time
HAASA’s scope does not end with alcohol prevention, as its efforts extend to preventative education regarding nicotine, illicit
drugs and prescription drugs.
with nicotine education in the first grade, presenters use puppets to connect
with the young students to convey the message of avoiding tobacco use. Additionally, every 7th grade
student in the school district receives education regarding illicit drugs, which
includes heroin and “Molly” (MDMA), with a special emphasis on prescription drug
HAASA’s efforts also include a trained “ALATEEN” group sponsor who presents to
middle and high school students about how alcoholism and substance abuse negatively
affects families. Information and tools
are given to the students to help address this issue.
their efforts work to keep kids safe, HAASA also looks to team with parents to
help prevent substance abuse. Through
the “Parents Who Host Lose the Most”
program, parents are provided with tools to educate their peers about the
legal, health & safety issues associated with allowing anyone under the age
of 21 to consume alcohol at parent hosted parties.
“Prevention is a collaborative
effort that is strengthened with community and parental involvement; and that
is why we focus on partnering with parents to help prevent substance abuse in
our children, as well as with other community agencies,” says Deborah Minnick, HAASA Coordinator.
help promote its efforts and prevention information, HAASA’s new website www.HamiltonNJ.com/HAASA
feature on the new website is a “Hotlines
and Links for Help” section that provide phone numbers, websites and even
social media links to several governmental programs and non-profit
organizations that can help individuals suffering from alcohol, drug and substance
abuse, as well as issues dealing with food and eating disorders and other
crisis issues – some with a particular focus on youth.
“I think this is a great
part of our new website, which will provide helpful resources for anyone suffering
from substance abuse issues,”
says Mayor Kelly Yaede.
“L.E.A.D.”-ing the way
mission of L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs) is to provide resources and
educational programs to communities and organizations supporting law
enforcement initiatives and services. Through
its "Too Good For Drugs" curriculum,
the program seeks to prevent cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and
marijuana use among middle school students and to reduce risk factors related
to alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use, which includes inhalants and
street drugs including heroin and “Molly” (MDMA).
Hamilton, L.E.A.D. officers use this curriculum for 6th graders in
the township’s public and private schools to help promote healthy lifestyles
for the community’s children.
“Our L.E.A.D. officers
are committed to educating our community’s middle school students about health
lifestyles and avoiding the temptations of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs,” says Hamilton Township Chief of
Police, James W. Collins.
“Project Medicine Drop” Collection Box
Hamilton has participated in several prescription drug collection day
initiatives in collaboration for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration
and the state Attorney General’s Office, the Hamilton Township Police Division is
working to obtain and install a permanent prescription drug collection box
through the State of New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs’ “Project Medicine
Drop” program. This will allow members
of the community, particularly adults and seniors, a convenient way to properly
dispose of unwanted prescription medication to help prevent prescription drug