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The State of New Jersey, Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), sets aside annual funding to provide substance use disorder programs for individuals who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or have a disability.  On January 5, 1996, Governor Christine Whitman signed Public Law 1995, Chapter 318 establishing the “Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Disabled”.

This Public Law was the first set-aside in the nation to provide funding for substance use disorder services for people who are Deaf, hard of hearing or persons with disabilities.

For this Public Law to go into effect, a Program Advisory Committee was created to advise the Commissioner on the establishment and operation of the Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder Program for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Disabled. The provision of the Advisory Committee gives advocates a direct link to the state agency and to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, to ensure that the legislation is implemented with integrity.

The Advisory Committee guides the program, assuring that it continually meets the needs of the community which it serves and that the funds are utilized in a quality manner, assuring maximum potential for the program.

This Program Advisory Committee, which first convened in March of 1997 is now known as the Commissioner’s Advisory Committee to the Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Disabled and meets on a quarterly basis to discuss issues related to those individuals in need of substance misuse treatment, who are also either Deaf, hard of hearing, or disabled.


The committee consists of five members who are either Deaf, hard of hearing, or disabled, two members of the public with an interest in issues relating to alcohol and substance use disorder and one representative from the following entities:  The Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Substance Use Disorder, Developmental Disabilities Council, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Division of Disability Services.

The legislation also mandated the Commissioner of the Department serve as an ex officio member of the Advisory Committee.  The DMHAS Disability Specialist attends each meeting as a representative for the Assistant Commissioner of DMHAS.

For more information, contact Harry Reyes or call (609) 438-4128.

Current Members of the Committee
Lauren Willis Tanya Onsongo Sari Breurs
Tevis Thompson Harry Reyes Vacant
Deborah Gravely Christopher Suslow Vacant
Jaclyne Pallies Elizabeth Hill Vacant

DMHAS Representative: Tevis Thompson 

Date Time Location
November 14, 2023 10:00AM Zoom
February 6, 2024 10:00AM Zoom
May 7, 2024 10:00AM Zoom
August 6, 2024 10:00AM Zoom


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