HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT
In 1974 the Alcohol Information Center of Sussex County was incorporated as a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. It was a community based information and referral organization whose staff worked closely with alcohol treatment centers and 12-Step recovery programs to assist others in recovery. Developed by local residents responding to the needs of individuals, family members and friends, it focused on its primary goal of the prevention of alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Its first executive director was Peggy Boyd, a dynamic woman with a strong sense of purpose and a clear vision. It was under her leadership that in 1980 the Alcohol Information Center became known as the Sussex Council on Alcohol, Inc.
In 1988, responding to the current research of that time, the organization chose to expand its mission to include other drugs, and the Sussex Council on Alcohol became the Sussex Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Inc. As its name became more inclusive, its programs became more expansive. The agency adopted a holistic approach to addressing the disease of addiction by dedicating itself to the prevention of substance abuse and chemical dependency through the provision of education, information dissemination, referrals, advocacy and counseling.
In 1990, with a staff of eight professionals, the agency continued to respond to and meet the diverse needs of the community by recognizing the severity of chemical dependency. In the late 1990’s, the organization became a multi-faceted social service agency having a robust staff of more than 20 professionals. With the knowledge that the insidious disease of addiction touches the lives of our parents, grandparents, teens and infants from all economic and cultural backgrounds, the agency’s programs became focused on all segments of the Sussex County community, including the elderly, people with disabilities, children of all ages and people who are homeless.
This expansion increased the agency’s impact on families, individuals and the community, and inspired a name change in 2001 to the Center for Prevention and Counseling. Now known as simply The Center, the agency became licensed by the State in 2005 to provide out-patient and intensive out-patient counseling to people with substance abuse and mental health issues, thus enabling The Center’s staff of more than 30 professionals to positively impact the people of Sussex County more than ever before. The agency’s mission has continued to expand to focus on building strong families and healthy adolescents, helping families move from poverty to prosperity, reducing child abuse, promoting mental health and substance abuse recovery, as well as preventing violence, suicide and bullying. The Center’s reach has also expanded as services are now provided in communities throughout northern New Jersey.
Whether through new funding opportunities, new collaborations or new programs, The Center’s dedication to fostering strong families and building healthy communities remains as strong and constant as it was in 1974.