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Northern Valley Coalition Fights Drugs With Frisbees

Families at last year's "Trunk or Treat" sponsored by the Northern Valley Coalition.
Families at last year's "Trunk or Treat" sponsored by the Northern Valley Coalition. Photo Credit: Courtesy Sofi

OLD TAPPAN, NJ — The Northern Valley Coalition is aiming to entertain teens and ‘tweens by offering sober-friendly events to help curb substance abuse in seven boroughs.

The non-profit organization was launched just under two years ago by concerned parents and students in Closter, Demarest, Harrington Park, Haworth, Northvale, Norwood and Old Tappan in response to alcohol and drug problems among youngsters.

The group has been busy preparing Halloween "Trunk-Or-Treat" events at two schools, while completing the last games of an Ultimate Frisbee League that includes more than 200 participants.

“Lots of kids want to do things that don’t involve alcohol. They don’t want the pressure to drink,” said Melissa Driscoll, a nuclear engineer who serves as the group's co-president and the Northern Valley Old Tappan PTSO president.Discoll, who is running for the Board of Education, said that positive action -- rather than random drug testing -- is the biggest key to curing substance abuse.The group doesn’t collect membership dues but has parents pledge to provide their youngsters with healthy environments.

Organizers hope to include police officers in their last Frisbee tournament at the end of October, and also engage middle-schoolers in hikes and dodge ball games in the spring.

“The thing that woke me up was when I knew three students who had addictions to heroin - one was originally in my Girl Scouts group, and two were in my daughter’s grade," Driscoll said. "That hit really close to home."I remember the happy, carefree kids they were and then now, to realize they’ve got that kind of demon to battle, I believe when they are in charge of activities, and they create and make stuff, that they are less likely to go down that road.”

MORE INFO: http://www.nvcoalition.org

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