As the Drug Epidemic continues to wreak havoc across the Jersey Shore, more and more community groups are pulling together efforts to help those struggling with the disease treatment and a chance at a second life.

St. Luke's Roman Catholic Church of Toms River, and the RCCTR (Roman Catholic Churches of Toms River) are hosting a recovery event named, “Peer Recovery Support: The Missing Link,” which takes place on Thursday, October 3, from 6:00-9:00 pm.

This event is being sponsored by NCADD-NJ (The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) and the MHA (Mental Health Association in New Jersey, Inc.).

“The drug epidemic continues to be sadly out of control,” St. Luke’s Pastor Father Bob Grodnicki said. “Our hope is that this forum will help shed light on the numerous recovery resources available for individuals struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol and help save many precious lives.”

One of the speakers on the panel at the event will be someone who has battled drug demons in his own life.

"I am in my twelfth year of recovery but I started using alcohol and drugs at an early age. I started using alcohol and that led to marijuana which led to heroin and cocaine when I was about 21 and that's when I entered into recovery," Don Rogers, who now works as an addiction peer recovery specialist with the group Seabrook, said.

It all began with a match on the soccer pit for Rogers who then turned the wrong way for pain management.

"There were injuries on the soccer field and then I turned to my friends and they were like 'try this, try that' and it led to my addiction," Rogers said.

Over the course of his recovery Rogers has reached into the community that once led him astray so that he could lead them out of it.

"It's taking my story of addiction and trying to share more loudly and clearly, my story of recovery as the solution," Rogers said.

The path towards solutions includes those who have battled addiction, those close to it and those in the community who see it occurring on a daily basis.

"The most effective application of peer support is in the community," Rogers said.

If you or a loved one is in need of recovery, Rogers is available through Seabrook to help guide you on the right path at 908-510-7586.

The peer recovery event will take place at St. Luke Roman Catholic Church Parish Center, 1674 Old Freehold Road, Toms River, NJ 08755.

There will be various Ocean and Monmouth County organizations and information tables available to answer questions and provide resources to attendees.

A brief panel discussion will take place at 7:00 pm, after which the panelists will hold discussions with groups of attendees.


  • Kim Reilly, Ocean County Health Dept.
  • Jenna Reidy, RWJ Barnabas
  • Pam Capaci, Hope Sheds Light
  • Morgan Thompson, NJCARS/Prevention Links - Recovery HS
  • Heather Price, Hope Sheds Light
  • Don Rogers, Seabrook
  • Mike Leotis, Mental Health Association (Ocean County)
  • Christine Talbot, Mental Health Association of Monmouth Co.
  • Nicole Federici, Recovery Advocates for the Shore (RAFTS)
  • Mariel Hufnagel, The Ammon Foundation
  • Moderator: Heather Ogden, NCADD-NJ


  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  • Al-Anon & Alateen
  • Ammon Foundation
  • Discovery Institute
  • Gamblers Anonymous (GA)
  • Hope Sheds Light
  • Mental Health Association in NJ, Inc.
  • Mental Health Association of Monmouth County
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Nar-Anon
  • Nat’l. Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)
  • NJ Coalition for Addiction Recovery Support (CARS)
  • Ocean County Health Department
  • Prevention Links – Recovery High School
  • Recovery Advocates for the Shore (RAFTS)
  • Recovery Centers of America
  • Recovery International
  • RWJ Barnabas - Peer Recovery Program (PRP)
  • & Health Institute for Prevention & Recovery
  • Seabrook
  • Serenity Detox
  • Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.
  • The Office of Congressman Andy Kim (NJ03)

Refreshments will be served.

If you are interested in finding out more information about this event, or learning more about the RCCTR, please visit our website at

"Founded in 2015 as part of the “Faith in Our Future” initiative of the Diocese of Trenton, the Roman Catholic Churches of Toms River (RCCTR) is comprised of leaders and clergy from the four Roman Catholic parishes in Toms River: St. Joseph’s, St. Justin the Martyr, St. Luke’s and St. Maximilian Kolbe.

These four parishes serve more than 20,000 registered Catholic families in Toms River, and collaborate to find ways to strengthen our parishes, explore new models of leadership, evangelize, improve Hispanic ministry and expand opportunities for greater efficiency and better stewardship. 

This collaboration is key to bring greater depth and breadth of services to the community.

The mission statement of the RCCTR is, “Leading people to the heart of Jesus where they can experience the beauty of the truth as contained in the Catholic faith.”

For more information, please visit each of the four parish websites:,,, and

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