Walk 2023
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Vernon Coalition

Our Mission

The Vernon Coalition’s mission is to build and strengthen community collaboration in order to reduce youth substance use in the community.

Our Vision

We strive to keep our youth healthy and safe while encouraging positive, drug-free lifestyle.

The Vernon Coalition

The Vernon Coalition was established in 2010 when the community came together to combat the rising heroin epidemic. The Coalition was sustainable for 10 years with federal funding through the Drug-Free Communities Grant. Currently, the Coalition is being funded through generous community support from the Joseph P. Hession Foundation, Mountain Creek Resort, and the Vernon Township School District. The continuous community support allows the Coalition to strive to meet our mission to reduce youth substance use, provide resources to those struggling with addiction and help reduce the stigma around this public health issue in the Vernon community.

The Coalition works with grades 2-12 in direct programming, after-school clubs, and community events, as well as monthly meetings with Coalition members and quarterly meetings with stakeholders. Additionally, we hold weekly youth action group meetings with high school students and bi-monthly “Above the Influence” meetings with middle school students. Community engagement includes over 240 adults and 80 youth, and the Coalition continues to grow.


Opioid Task Force

The Coalition hosts quarterly stakeholder meetings to address the opioid epidemic in our own backyard. If you are interested in joining the stakeholder meetings.

After School Programs

We currently host after school, youth-led programs for grades 4-12. These programs give the youth an opportunity to make a positive difference in their community.


What we do

The Coalition uses a strategic plan (based on Sussex County data) to focus on reducing youth substance use. The plan addresses each of the five drug categories below:

Tobacco and Vaping
Tobacco and Vaping
Find resources and information on Tobacco Free for Healthy NJ!
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Underage Drinking
Underage Drinking
Each year the coalition offers different contests, trainings and education all around the topic of alcohol.
Emerging Drug Trends & Illegal Substances
Emerging Drug Trends & Illegal Substances
The Coalition provides information including drug trend updates on an ongoing basis.
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The coalition has a marijuana workgroup that seeks to share education and best public health practices with municipalities, schools, businesses and parents.
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Misuse of Prescription Medication
Misuse of Prescription Medication
Project Medicine Drop-boxes is where you can drop off unwanted, unused, or expired medication. Find a permeant location near you!
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Upcoming Trainings
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Summer Youth Expansion Program

Serving students in grades 7-12. The summer program provides a positive space for students to learn leadership skills, how to use their voice to make change in their community, and how they can live a healthy, drug-free life. The program begins in June and end in the beginning of September. The program includes We’re Not Buying it 2.0, Leadership Conferences, Field trips and more.

Coalition Leaders

Lisa DeRitter
Vernon Coalition Coordinator
Contact Us

Coalition Meetings

The Vernon Coalition meetings are held at the Vernon Township Board of Education building each month from 6PM-7PM. To attend a meeting please reach out to Lisa DeRitter at [email protected]