Substance abuse in New Jersey among teens is an epidemic, and Daytop wants to help.
That, according to the organization’s executive director James Curtain, is why this year’s annual Daytop Gala is setting a goal of $1 million in funds raised.
The gala is Daytop’s premier source of charitable contributions, and this year will host a guest of honor known by all New Jersey residents.
Governor Chris Christie and First Lady Mary Pat Christie will be the centerpiece of the event to be held at The Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset, New Jersey at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26. A V.I.P. reception will be held at 6 p.m. with the governor and first lady.
Daytop helps teens break their addictions and rehabilitate them in short and long-term programs.
“[Daytop] is overly dependent on public funding,” Curtain told Patch. “About 85-percent of our funding comes from public monies, but another 15-percent comes from these fundraisers and private donations.”
To get an idea of the goal set forth by the organization for this year’s event, the gala in 2012 hosted New York Jets owner Woody Johnson as the guest of honor and was held at MetLife Stadium. The event netted about $450,000, Curtain said.
“[The goal] is going to be a stretch, (but) we think the Governor is a terrific guest to help us get there,” Curtain said.
“Mary Pat and I have been involved with Daytop for many years so we know firsthand that Daytop is truly one of the places in New Jersey where miracles happen,” said Governor Christie in a joint press release with Daytop. “No life is disposable and I know that the types of comprehensive treatment programs and education that Daytop provides can in fact turn around the lives of adolescents here in New Jersey. Mary Pat and I are honored to attend the annual gala and look forward to many more years of working together to reclaim lives and heal families.”
‘Out of Control’
Daytop, with four campuses across the state – its main branch in Mendham – is serving about 500 teens in need of help annually, Curtain said.
“Prescription drug use and heroin is out of control right now,” Curtain said. “Due to the ports of entry in the state, we see some of the most potent heroin you can find. The (heroin) problem is just terrible.”
An overwhelming amount of annual admissions deals with heroin use, Curtain said. Without hesitancy, the director said the admissions Daytop receives are mostly teens from the suburbs who are hooked on the cheap and easily accessible drug.
Some 90-percent of teens admitted to the program are aided in part or full by state and federal grants.