(Camden, NJ) – It is estimated that of the 2,115 Camden County residents who lost their lives to an overdose since 2010, approximately half were parents to at least one child. Nationwide, approximately 8 million children under the age of 18 live with at least one adult who suffers from Substance Use Disorder.
In 2018, the Camden County Freeholder Board and the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force launched H.A.L.O. (Healing After Loss to an Overdose), a program designed to assist adults with the loss of a loved one caused by an overdose. This year, the program has been expanded with the creation of H.A.L.O. Youth, a new initiative to help children aged 12 through 18 that have experienced a similar loss.
“Losing a parent or loved one is a traumatic experience for any child, but it’s important that we recognize and address the unique challenges they face after losing someone to an overdose,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez. “The H.A.L.O. program has been extremely successful working with adults in our community by providing them with a space to come together, share their experience, and learn to cope with the grief they are facing. There are hundreds of children in our community who have lost a loved one to an overdose and we believe that this model could offer them the same support.”
The program functions as a therapeutically oriented support group, the goal of which is to assist youth in coping with these complicated and tragic losses. H.A.L.O. Youth provides children with a safe, supportive, and healing environment to come together while sharing and developing healthy coping skills.
Participation in H.A.L.O. Youth is available at no cost to Camden County residents between the ages of 12 and 17.
For more information or to register, please contact the Center for Family Services at (609) 820-0711. For information regarding any of the county’s other addiction services and programs, contact the Office of Mental Health & Addiction at (856) 374-6320 or visit camdencounty.com.