Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders has agreed to increase the county’s support of all municipalities in their drug abuse prevention efforts, especially in these challenging budgetary times. The freeholders have unanimously approved supplemental funding for the municipal alliances to use locally in helping youth in their towns make healthy choices.

A total of $82,500 in funding was approved for supplemental funding for the local municipal alliances. Although this is the same amount as last year, the freeholders made an even more significant change by reducing the town match from 100 percent to 50 percent. The reduction will make it possible for even more municipalities to participate and will increase the drug abuse prevention programming available in all local communities.

The Municipal Alliance movement began in 1989 and has been successfully implemented in almost every one of the 39 towns in Morris County. The Alliances are completely volunteer led and are responsible for designing drug abuse prevention efforts that are most successful in their local communities.

Some of the most prominent Municipal Alliance programs include peer leadership programs, alternative activities for youth, and Project Graduation. The Municipal Alliance in Morris Township also has a mentoring program for special needs children that is highly successful and serves as a model.

The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders has provided additional funding, in addition to the State funding, since 2001. The board has remained committed to enhancing and expanding services ever since.

Freeholder John Murphy, liaison to the Department of Human Services, made a passionate plea to continue supplemental funding in spite of the economic times. He also introduced the idea of reducing the cash match for the municipalities.

“This will give the towns much more bang for their buck and will reduce the funding burden on them as well as their residents,” said Murphy. “Even more important is the fact that more middle school and high school youth will hear the message that you can have fun without using drugs or alcohol in your lives.”

Beth Jacobson, Municipal Alliance Coordinator for the county, said the supplemental county funding is critical to address the increasing reductions from the state. “The additional funding also ensures greater local flexibility in programming, as well as increased public awareness of the dangers of substance abuse,” Jacobson said.

The Morris County Department of Human Services strives to help youth, families, seniors and the disabled in need. For more information call (973) 285-6863 or visit the county website at www.co.morris.nj.us.