The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources was founded and incorporated in 1979 as the Bergen County Council on Alcoholism and began its programming under the leadership of its first executive director, H. William Tackmann. With a $10,000 grant from the Junior League of Bergen County to implement a K-12 education curriculum and a $25,000 grant from the NJ State Division on Alcoholism to raise community awareness about drunken driving and fetal alcohol syndrome, the agency’s work got off the ground.
In 1982, we were the first agency to offer Student Assistance Counseling services to Bergen County’s school districts. We hired and supervised counselors that were placed in districts interested in the position but not yet committed to instituting the position permanently. Student Assistance Counseling has become a vital and essential service in schools with most of Bergen County’s school districts having a designated staff position.
The agency changed its name in 1986 to reflect the nationwide trend of joining drug treatment and alcohol treatment under one umbrella of addiction services. The newly named entity, the Bergen County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Inc., continued to implement educational programs in the community and developed new ones. In 1993, Creating Healthy Attitudes in Teens (CHAT) was instituted as a consequence for first time juvenile offenders charged with alcohol or drug related offenses. This innovative program currently reaches approximately 300 teens and 300 of their parents each year.
In 1997, H. William Tackmann retired and James Mulhern took the helm to become the agency’s second executive director. Jim was instrumental in creating the Bergen County Communities Against Tobacco (CAT) coalition, a volunteer group of concerned individuals that had a significant role in the ultimate passage of the 2006 “NJ Clean Indoor Air Act”.
Ellen Elias became the agency’s third executive director in 1999. Under her leadership, programming continued to expand and services became more diversified. In 2000 and again in 2005, the agency’s name changed to become The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources and was relocated to its current office on Main Street in Hackensack.
In an effort to continue its expansion and diversification, The Center merged with Children’s Aid and Family Services in October 2009. The merger helps to strengthen the shared mission commitments of both agencies with Children’s Aid and Family Services’ infrastructure supporting The Center’s ability to take its services to the next level and The Center’s staff expertise in substance abuse related issues to assist employees and clients of Children’s Aid and Family Services.
Today, in partnership with the community, The Center advocates to increase awareness, identify solutions and implement strategies that support individuals, families, schools and entire communities in their ability to make healthy decisions about the use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco.