ADAPT interfaith symposium provides information on drug abuse, addiction

Minister Bill Paige, the keynote speaker

WEST ORANGE, NJ — A half-day interfaith symposium on Oct. 26 at The Life Christian Church in West Orange brought together 120 community members from all over Essex County, including 55 faith based leaders. The symposium, organized by the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Team of FAMILYConnections, provided information on how to help members of faith-based communities and anyone else dealing with substance abuse and health-related issues.

“The symposium was organized by ADAPT’s Essex County Interfaith Steering Committee to involve more faith-based leaders in substance abuse prevention,” FAMILYConnections Executive Director Jacques Hryshko said in a press release. “Faith-based leaders are in a unique position to positively impact families and young people because of the strong values that faith promotes. Therefore, it’s important that they understand issues related to mental and emotional health and what community resources are available to them when someone is in need. I thank everyone who was involved with putting this event together.”

The main focus of the symposium was addressing the current opioid abuse and heroin epidemic affecting Essex County. It included presentations and discussions from individuals in recovery and faith-based leaders who are taking action and creating programs that can support individuals in need of treatment, recovery support, etc., along with their entire family. The event included presentations on the Essex and Hudson County Opioid Recovery Program through Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention and the successful Drug Court Program through the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

To learn more about the symposium and community resources available to faith-based leaders, contact Joel Torres, ADAPT manager, at

Photo Courtesy of Nancy Wellbrock