Morris County Aftercare Center
Client Advocacy Committee Members
To promote methadone, as prescribed, administered, and monitored by professional care givers, as an effective treatment for those suffering from opiate addiction. The Committee’s purpose is to educate the public, the criminal justice system, treatment professionals and funding providers of the efficacy of methadone, particularly for those who have tried and failed repeatedly at medication free treatment.
The Committee aspires to create an atmosphere in which methadone treatment is affordable and accessible and that those opting for this form of treatment can do so without fear of stigma, discrimination or disapproval through:
- Advocating with funding providers for resources necessary to provide comprehensive substance abuse treatment, with methadone being a component of same.
- Partnering with criminal justice professionals to ensure collaboration on shared clients and to advocate for the use of methadone as an effective form of treatment for opiate abuse.
- Educating the public, particularly employers, on the difference between opiate addiction and the use of methadone as a means of treatment.
- Reaching out directly to the addicted and their family members to explain the science of addiction; to debunk myths about methadone; and to suggest it as a form of treatment, particularly for those who have tried and failed repeatedly at medication free treatment.
- Encouraging alternatives to incarceration in cases of non-violent drug related offenses, allowing offenders to remain in the community where they are best able to receive appropriate treatment and most likely to become productive citizens.
- Ensuring that drug courts and other probation programs and practices permit and do not discriminate against those opting for medication assisted treatment such as methadone.
Vincent Ferrara has served as a Parsippany councilman and as a member of the Parsippany Planning Board, and is currently on the Parsippany Traffic Committee. He served as liaison to the Library Board, Environmental Committee, Economic Advisory Committee and Municipal Alliance Committee which acts
to educate and create awareness of drug and alcohol abuse in our schools and township. Vincent immigrated to the United States from Teora, Italy when he was 12 years old and received his undergraduate as well as a Master’s Degree from Seton Hall University. After several years spent teaching Italian at Seton Hall Prep, he went on to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. He has had interests in several area restaurants including Chit Chat’s at the Dover train station. He is extremely active in his community, and is on the board of the charity organization AMICI, which works to support local youth groups, and promote the Italian heritage through, in part, collaboration with the Italian State Police (Polizia di Stato).
Rupande Mehta, Vice-Chairman
Rupande Mehta was born in India and came to the US in 2002 for her MBA. Since then she has worked for over a decade as a market research professional. In 2015, Rupande took a break from her career to work with a local nonprofit in NJ helping victims of domestic violence. In 2016, she started The SAR Foundation where she helps those affected by abuse as well as trains local and state level organizations on issues of domestic violence, intersectionality and privilege. Currently, Rupande is working with a Fortune 500 company in NJ and finishing her MPA from Rutgers University. In 2017, Rupande made an unsuccessful attempt for Denville Town Council. She currently serves on the Green Sustainability and the Municipal Alliance Committees in Denville.
Mr. Davis has been a practicing attorney in New Jersey since 1983. His initial work was in real estate development but since 1990 Mr. Davis is one of the few attorneys in New Jersey who specializes in representing those whose property is needed by government for public use through acquisition by eminent domain. Mr. Davis work involves ensuring that those who are affected by eminent domain are adequately compensated and are given a means to purchase replacement property. He also works to ensure that adequate relocation assistance is provided when government projects causes the displacement of individuals and businesses.
Mr. Davis has seen firsthand the devastation wrought by opiate abuse. There is a successful, proven treatment for opiate abuse and addiction – methadone, properly dispensed by facilities such as Morris County Aftercare. Unfortunately, methadone as a medically assisted treatment for opiate addiction is all too often surrounded by ignorance, misconceptions, and in some instances blatant untruths. This is in addition to the societal stigma attached to those who choose what is actually the best and for many people the only successful option for opoid dependence. As a result, person who could be leading normal productive lives remain mired in dependence on illegal and dangerous substances. Mr. Davis hopes that his work on the Committee will assist in removing the myths attached to medically assisted treatment.
MaryLynn Schiavi, Communications Director
MaryLynn Schiavi is a writer, tv/video producer and communications strategist. She is the author of a monthly column for Gannett publiations called IMAGINE focused on innovation. In addition to serving as a civil mediator in New Jersey, she is the producer and host of Pro Se Nation: understand the law for oneself distributed by Princeton Community TV.
Pro Se Nation is designed to help the average non-lawyer better understand the law and justice issues. She also served as the writer, producer, and host for Emmy Award winning Matter & Beyond, a television program exploring the philosophical and ethical dimensions of science and technology.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political theory at New York University and studied religious philosophy at Drew University Graduate School.
She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
After 33 years working for Probation Services in Morris and Sussex Counties, Jonathan Bell recently retired as the Vicinage Chief Probation Officer. Over the past decade he witnessed an explosion in opioid addiction with all of it’s consequences: repeated relapses, arrests, breakup of families, unemployment, failed treatment attempts and far too many overdose deaths. He believes that medication- assisted treatments such as methadone, when properly administered and supervised, as is done at Morris County Aftercare, offers an alternative to this downward spiral for those committed to recovery but who have been unable to conquer their addiction through drug-free rehabilitation, counseling, 12 step and prayers alone.
And Mr. Bell is committed to removing the stigma associated with the use of these medically approved treatment alternatives such as Methadone which signify the difference for many between healthy, productive lives and lives filled with turmoil, unemployment, hospitals, jails, and deaths due to overdose.
Ms. Tangara is currently the President and Executive Director of Morris County Aftercare Center (MCAC), an outpatient medication-assisted facility, licensed by the NJ Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services.