William Paterson University Awarded Grant to Develop Passaic County Coalition to Address Alcohol and Drug Abuse

The $150,000 grant will establish a coalition to support countywide alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs

William Paterson University in Wayne has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services to establish a Passaic County coalition that will support alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs throughout the county.

The University was awarded the grant on behalf of the Passaic County Childhood Drinking Coalition, which will reformulate its mission to focus not only on underage drinking but also put additional focus on the prevention of illicit drug use, misuse of prescription medicine, and the abuse of new/emerging drugs of abuse in populations ranging from middle, high school and college students to adults. The grant is renewable for five years.

William Paterson has been involved in alcohol and drug abuse prevention efforts in Passaic County since 2006 through the recently closed Passaic County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. Glen Sherman, associate vice president and dean of student development, served as founding chair of the Passaic County Childhood Drinking Coalition, in partnership with the Passaic County Council, which resulted in a number of county-wide prevention initiatives and events.

“We are proud to continue to serve the Passaic County community in this important public health initiative,” says Sherman. “We see our campus as a resource for the community, which was our prime motivation in seeking the grant funding and taking a leadership role in re-establishing the coalition.”

As part of the grant proposal, a prevention specialist will be hired to lead the coalition and reach out to potential community partners throughout the county.

Sherman wrote the grant in collaboration with William Kernan, an assistant professor of public health and a master certified health education specialist with expertise in developing community substance abuse prevention programs.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the university’s Department of Public Health to demonstrate to our students how to implement the principles they learn in the classroom,” says Kernan, who notes that a number of William Paterson students majoring in public health will work as research assistants with the coalition. “Service is an important part of our program, and this work on the coalition will allow our students to be critically engaged in service to Passaic County.”