17th Annual Addiction Conference – April 28, 2017

2017 Conference Banner










Each year the New Jersey Prevention Network (NJPN) holds the state of New Jersey’s largest addiction-focused conference.  On April 28, 2017 over 1,200 dedicated  professionals across New Jersey and beyond representing the fields of addiction, public health, mental health, education and law enforcement gathered at the Atlantic City Convention Center to attend NJPN’s 17th  Annual Addiction Conference: Forging Paths to Wellness.

This annual conference provides educational sessions presenting the latest research, best practices and leading innovations in the field of prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery support services.

The conference features popular keynote and  plenary session speakers that deliver National and local perspectives on issues relating to substance use.  The 2017 conference featured keynote Dr. Bertha Madras of Harvard Medical School and Governor Chris Christie both named to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

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Dr. Madras kicked off the conference by underscoring the need to prioritize the prevention of youth drug use, speaking on the changes that occur in the adolescent brain as it matures and the damage that drug use can wreak on the developing brain. Dr. Madras’ expertise on this subject stems from an extensive career in the addiction field. During her career she served as Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, where she advocated for the medicalization of the diagnosis and treatment of substance use disorders.

Governor Christie, who has prioritized the opioid crisis and the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders during his last year in office, gave an afternoon speech that addressed the stigma associated with addiction and how stigma affects those living with substance use disorders.


“What this disease defines is whether we will live or die based on our response to it. And a failure to respond is absolutely unacceptable. This is the challenge of our time, and we are going to lose hundreds of thousands of lives if we don’t step up and work together,” Christie stated.

The speaking points of both Christie and Madras underlined the importance of prioritizing prevention in youth with messages that will resonate among younger populations, while using methods that are most likely to engage youth in the information being shared.

“It was an honor to host two national leaders at this year’s Annual Addiction Conference. Bertha Madras’ presentation on the research of addiction and Governor Chris Christie’s focus on the policy aspects of prevention and treatment were each vital parts of the larger conversation about addiction. To have their expertise in dialing the focus of the broader issues of addiction into New Jersey-based best practices will empower statewide treatment and prevention professionals,” said Diane Litterer, CEO & Executive Director of the New Jersey Prevention Network.

“Combined, their addresses provided our conference attendees with powerful messages that they can take back into their communities.” Litterer concluded.


Conf Pic2The workshops and power sessions offered at the Annual Addiction Conference are carefully chosen to match the growing and changing needs of the New Jersey addiction professionals. 2017 conference  participants attended a variety of workshops which included The Opioid Epidemic: Lessons Learned for Marijuana by Dr. Bertha Madras and “Motivation, Group Treatment and the Process of Change” by the creator of Transtheoretical Model of Change (TTM), Dr. Carlo DiClemente. Additionally, leading experts in the field presented topics including: marijuana, gangs, gambling, medication-assisted treatment, the Opioid Overdose Recovery Program, substance abuse prevention and families, mindfulness, cultural competency, impaired driving, law enforcement strategy, adverse childhood experiences and substance use disorders, and treatment and corrections were available. The conference educational experienced is enhanced by access to sponsors and exhibitors representing the fields leading organizations —                                                                                                    creating a unique opportunity for attendees to network with over 50 providers from across the continuum of care.

This valuable networking and educational experience is made possible by dedicated sponsors and exhibitors. 2017 Premiere Conference Sponsors were:

  • Seabrook House,
  • Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse,
  • Recovery Centers of America

Special thank you all conference sponsors and exhibitors for their continued support and for promoting addiction workforce development in New Jersey.


Thank You 2017 Sponsors & Government Partners


Seabrook House








RCA place holder






American Addiction Centers

Atlantic Diagnostic Laboratories

Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches

BlueCrest Recovery Center

Caron Treatment Centers

Daytop Village of New Jersey

Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services

Excel Treatment Center


Infinity Behavioral Health

Lakeview Health

Malvern Institute

New Pathway Counseling

Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Center

Summit Behavioral Health

Turning Point