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The High Point Blog




High Point Program is pleased to announce our expansion of services to accommodate the continued needs of our substance abuse & co-occurring clientele. In addition to our current day programming, we will be launching an evening substance abuse & co-occurring program to supplement our treatment services. The evening program will accommodate both Intensive Outpatient [IOP] and Outpatient [OP] levels of care.

Our evening programming and services will begin on Monday, October 5, 2020, and will operate on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights between the hours of 5:30pm to 8:45pm. During this time, we will offer two 90-minute groups sessions, individual sessions, and random UDS testing. We will also be accommodating medication monitoring and other psychiatric needs within our existing day hours. Clients attending the Evening Program will be responsible for their own transportation.

We recognize the growing need for evening substance abuse treatment services in our surrounding community, and have designed a high-quality program to accommodate those clients who are looking to continue working towards their recovery , while balancing their existing responsibilities and schedules. We understand the many barriers that may create a limited ability to attend day programming, such as:

  • Those who are currently employed and/or furthering their education but require ongoing support to maintain their recovery.
  • Those with childcare or other familial responsibilities that interfere with day programming.
  • Those who have been stable in their recovery, had successfully completed a treatment program but may have had a lapse/relapse which immediately  puts them at a higher risk for a downward spiral, but wish  to stabilize their recovery and avoid further relapse.
  • Those who have graduated their current day programming and are looking for transitional and step-down supports to continue therapeutic supports needed in early recovery.

Our Evening Program will offer the clinical support, education, and structure to further promote long-term recovery through preventing or halting a relapse, increasing insight into triggers and stressors, and developing/furthering a tool box of coping skills and interventions.

Essential to recovery is the development of a new healthy lifestyle that includes but is not limited to rebuilding/repairing relationships, increasing accountability, making informed decisions, strengthening and healing of the family, building a sober support network, and obtaining or maintaining employment. High Point will be adding a family component in the near future to the evening program to provide the opportunity to further assist clients and their families in their recovery processes, as “Addiction is a Family Disease”.

High Point’s multi- interdisciplinary team recognizes the ongoing and ever-changing needs of our clientele across the road to recovery. We seek to support our clients at all points of their recovery with the addition of our Evening Program.


Anna Vitale, MPS, LCADC – Director


Christopher Lombardi, MSW, LCSW, LCADC – Clinical Director


After a three-month interruption of on-site client care due to the coronavirus, High Point very much looks forward to reacclimating clients back into our community. The initial phase of reentry, to begin on July 6, will be carefully structured to support quality care of our substance use clients, offering PC, IOP and outpatient clinical services. Our program is strategically designed to accommodate our clients’ needs, both on-site as well as with tele-health supports, as necessary. Clinical services will encompass individual, group and continued psychiatric and medication monitoring supports. High Point remains committed to client and staff well-being, with cautionary standards intact to help reintegrate our clients back into the High Point community.

At this time, High Point Partial Care Mental Health clientele will continue receiving daily case management, wellness checks psychiatric monitoring to promote their mental health stabilization. These case management tele-health contacts help tremendously towards managing clients’ treatment need as well as provide direct guidance to assiste them with posting coping mechanisms during this challenging time.

For the returning clients, High Point will resume providing transportation assistance to clients in need. High Point is abiding by CDC guidelines and New Jersey State/Governor’s mandates, which include but are not limited to the use of masks, practicing six-feet social distancing, and maintaining daily sanitary and disinfection standards throughout the day.

Anytime a client or visitor enters the High Point building, a Covid-19 questionnaire and temperature check will be required. Additionally, staff and clients are undergoing Covid-19 testing to ensure negative results to ensure safe transition back to program.  Any staff or clients who conveys that they feel ill will be – as under normal circumstances – encouraged to stay home and seek medical guidance. Tele-health services are being maintained in addition to on-site supports to assist with clinical needs, especially given concerns surrounding overall health and wellness.

During these last three months of providing tele-health supports, staff and clients alike have expressed eagerness to promote positive transitioning to the return of on-site programming. The therapeutic and human connections that exist at High Pont is extraordinary component that bring our community together towards effecting change and achieving our clients’ treatment plan goals. High Point will remain vigilant, closely monitoring our clients’ transition back in order to deliver the outstanding care for which we are known.


As of Monday, March 23, High Point Programs will temporarily suspend treatment on its premises. Clients can take comfort knowing that High Point will be providing telecommunications follow-up to support them through this climate and these challenging times. High Point staff are invested in support the clients’ treatment needs remotely during our facility’s temporary closing.

These telecommunications mechanisms are related to mitigation of the coronavirus and are in keeping with precautionary standards to minimize health risks to our clients.

Our clients have been informed of the procedures put in place whereby staff can maintain channels of communication. Clients have provided us with their contact information and are aware they can communication with staff via the main phone number – 908-799-5979 – in urgent cases.

Refer to this website for further updates as things develop.


The following is list of resources and digital meetings for Unity clients for them to turn to while they are unable to attend in-person meetings due to the pandemic.

The first link is for open all-recovery meetings, which means people in or supportive of recovery from any type of behavioral health disorder or quality of life concern are welcome. No matter the program, pathway, or type of recovery you are in, this is a meeting for you. As a reminder, we typically introduce ourselves as “Hello, My name is ____ and I am a person in recovery”, but feel free to identify however is comfortable for you.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance online support groups:


County-specific Resources

Hunterdon County
(908) 788-6400: Hunterdon County Medical Center telephone and in-person crisis services and mobile screening.

Morris County
(973) 625-6063: St. Clare’s Hospital.

(973) 926-7416, 7444: Beth Israel Hotline – Psychiatric Emergency.
Also Mobile Screening for Irvington and parts of Newark but not NJIT.
(973) 623-2323: University Hospital – Hotline and Psychiatric Emergency room.
(973) 972-0480: University Hospital  – Mobile Screening adults.
(973) 972-7354: University Hospital- Mobile Screening children (under 18).

Passaic County
(973) 470-3000: Hotline.
(973) 470-3025: Mobile Screening.
(973) 977-2228: St. Joseph’s (emergency mental health).

Union County
(908) 351-6684: Trinitas Hospital telephone and in-person crisis services (24/7) for Elizabeth and eastern portion of Union County.
(908) 355-5556: Mobile Screening.
(908) 668-2205: Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center – telephone and in-person crisis services.
(908) 668-2599: Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center – mobile screening (all Union County).

Warren County
(908) 454-5141: Crisis Intervention.

Other Resources:

Smart Recovery

Refuge Recovery

Virtual NA

In the Rooms: and online recovery community

Article about non 12 step/AA/NA Fellowships/Groups/Organizations/Communities


Mental Health/Other Support groups:







High Point first and foremost concerns itself with its clients’ mental health and substance use issues, but the facility also places great importance on their overall health. With that in mind, High Point makes smoking cessation a priority and has regular presentations to move clients in that direction.

Smoking disproportionately affects individuals with mental health and/or substance issues. So much so, that it contributes to the early deaths of many thousands of people who were successfully treated for a behavioral health issues.

Choices presenter Azeem Sitabklan (pictured) gave two presentations in mid-February, one each to High Point’s mental health clients and its substance use clients. Both groups heard a host of statistics about the health risks that come with tobacco use. No fewer than 14 types of cancer arise from smoking. Nearly a half million people in the U.S. each year succumb to smoking-related deaths. Many more suffer with debilitating illnesses, bronchitis and emphysema being among the most common.

The presentation covered the many chemicals found in cigarettes – 7,000. Seventy of the chemicals are carcinogens. Azeem informs the clients some of the other uses for these toxins; ammonia is a toilet cleaner, while hexamine is barbecue lighter.  Some clients, having seen the program before, are knowledgeable about the array of harmful substances in cigarettes.

Another factor in smoking is how the chemicals ingested interact with prescribed medications. Smoking can mean that a patient needs a higher level of a medication due to that medicine being removed by the liver fast

er than in non-smokers. Therefore, smokers may need a higher dosage. When quitting or tapering off smoking, the client will need to make the prescriber aware of the change.

The program made clients aware of the many medications to help people ease their way towards quitting. These include nicotine gum, the nicotine patch, Chantix, and nicotine nasal spray. Choices made some of  these items available to the clients

With the recent surge in vaping, clients showed a

n interest in it, and its being less of a health risk than cigarette smoking. If vaping is better than cigarettes, the Choices staff said, it is only marginally so.  The best course by far is to takes steps towards quitting once and for all.

To learn more about High Point’s holistic approach to treating its clients, visit


The toll of opiates on youth over the past decade is staggering – more the half a million overdose deaths. A new documentary, “Fentanyl Factor,” depicts in heartbreaking detail a handful of the young lives swept away by an extremely potent synthetic opiate, Fentanyl, all of whom were from Hunterdon or Somerset counties. Family members showed remarkable strength reliving their loss in interviews in the movie and as members of a panel at a screening of the film January 29 at Raritan Community College.

Each of the stories the movie presents captures the unbearable pain at seeing a young life teeming with promise eliminated by addiction; each shows a young man who falls into drug use and fentanyl delivering the death blow. As several people in the film and on the panel said, “We are not meant to bury our children.” This makes High Point’s treatment for substance use particularly critical. High Point provides medication assisted treatment for opiate addiction, which includes suboxone and vivitrol.

One particularly poignant story came from a mother who appears in the film and also sat on the panel at the college. An overdose left her son comatose and placed on life support. It became clear he would not emerge from the coma. The movie places this woman in a serene setting – a beach with gentle waves lapping the shoreline. She is talking about the day she accepted it was time to take her son off of life support: his birthday.  In the movie, she speaks of his birth and hearing his first heartbeat, and also his last.

The goal of the movie, which will be widely distributed in the coming months is to raise awareness about Fentanyl and its potency (100 times more potent than morphine). A lethal does is the equivalent of a pinch of salt in volume. One of the panel members, a woman who lost her brother to fentanyl, said before his death she knew nothing about it; now it assumes an oversize role as she strives to spare others losing a beloved sibling or child or spouse to overdose.

The panel also featured three officials who have focused a great deal on the issue of drug addiction: State Senator Kip Bateman, Hunterdon Acting Prosecutor Michel Williams and former Hunterdon Prosecutor Anthony Kearns.  Before he stepped down as prosecutor, Kearns convened a town hall in 2019 on the opiate issue and it continues to be an issue he is committed to fighting.  He stressed that has prosecutor he saw the toll on families of all backgrounds, races, creeds; addiction is blind to those aspects of a person’s life.

The three took note of one of the factors that continues to frustrate an appropriate response to addiction – refusal to accept addiction as a disease. This stigma still causes many to continue to view addiction as a weakness.  Watching “Fentanyl Factor” will surely help dispel that misconception.

One young man on the panel, Sean, is committed to banishing that misconception. He said a person’s first use of an opiate may be of his or her choice, but before long, the drug usurps the brain’s capacity for anything approaching rational decision-making. Sean, now more than eight years in recovery, has revived the inner-light addiction had dimmed. Now he “aspires to inspire until he expires,” as he puts it.

Fentanyl had multiplied the loss of life caused by the opiate crisis. The “Fentanyl Factor” offers a lament of the young lives the drug taken by this drug and the shattered families they leave behind. Making it compulsory viewing for students, beginning with middle schoolers, could well preserve thousands of youth. The film illustrates how the youthful sense of invincibility – the “it won’t happen to me” syndrome – does not apply here.

The film was presented by the Safe Communities Coalition of Hunterdon/Somerset.


The following poem is among the writings by clients that were published in the new High Point Newsletter. Other poems, articles and art will follow. High Point counselor Becca Galarza was the staff facilitator of the project.

“I See”    By Carol W.

The New Year has arrived

We’re in the first week,

So, let’s all be happy

And Clearly speak.


This is the Third Decade

We are living In

So, let’s all do our Best

And give Life a Spin


Let’s all try together

With our Best Might


And show we are All Right


This year is Quite Special

So, just eliminate Plight

For this is Twenty-Twenty (2020)

The Year of Perfect Eyesight!


Let’s all SEE our Problems

And Know What to Do

So we can help each other

To Forever Pull Through.


So, if we can SEE EVERYONE

In the Same Equal Way

Love and Respect will Prosper

For All Day By Day.


High Point’s annual Holiday Decorating contest transformed the facility’s group rooms into display areas brimming with seasonal cheer. Clients’ and staff’s creativity made for a difficult time settling on the winning décor.  Each of the rooms combined joy with thoughtful messages in keeping with themes of growth, acceptance and hope that are central to the mental health and substance use treatment provided at High Point.

The spirit of the decorating was generally upbeat, but it did not ignore how the holidays are known to be particularly difficult for people with mental health problems. The counselors and clients did not ignore this but incorporated it in to the event to turn the tide towards a brighter future.

The winning room was the mental health group in the Flower Room. Clients took construction paper and cut out snowflakes and circles that we used in many different ways throughout the room. They also used  pipe cleaners they were given and spelled out ‘merry Christmas’ and hung it above the white board.

In the middle of the Flower Room stood a Charlie Brown Tree. The inspiration for this came from the group counselor, Becca Galzara. She said the modest tree crafted from branches captured the idea of resourcefulness and keeping gratitude in mind—”that it’s not so much about what we have, but what we can make of the things that we do.”

One of the clients asked to go outside as a coping skill during the group, and Becca asked him if he’d mind picking up some branches.

In another room, the group rechristened their tree the “Hope Tree.”  Ornaments on this tree reflected the clients’ as well as staffs’ goals and dreams for the coming year.

Overall, the clients’ energy really drove the creativity in the room and everyone contributed something of their own.


The holidays arrived early at High Point of Flemington. On Nov. 7, the facility arranged for Holiday Express, which delivers a full-fledged holiday party to businesses, complete with a full band, lunch, and well-known characters. By a few minutes after 11, the holiday spirit was in full swing for High Point’s mental health and substance use clients as well as for the staff.

The highlight at High Point was seeing the facility’s cafeteria transformed into a dance club. Holiday Express brought a 12-piece band to perform a full concert of songs befitting the season: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, “Frosty the Snowman,” “Feliz Navidad,” I Want to Wish You A Merry Christmas – and a Happy Hanukah.” Jingle Bell Rock.” You get the idea. Not every numbers were in keeping with holidays, but all were danceable; “Get on the Love Train,” and Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September.”  Client Lorraine (pictured have her face painted) did not sit a song.

Complementing the music was a cast of characters who appeared the band performed songs about them:  Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch, and, of course, a bearded gent with glint in his eye and warmth in his smile.

After working up their appetites dancing, High Point’s clients and staff sat down to a lunch of very good sub sandwiches. For dessert there were chocolate chip cookies.

There was also face painting with holiday-themed images: snowmen, rein deer and snow flakes.

And, of course, there were gifts. Bags overflowing with clothing and accessories went to the winners of drawings, but every client received a gift bag as the boarded their buses for home.

On this day, the entire High Point community -clients and staff alike – celebrated as winners. The party opened the holiday season in the best possible way, with smiles, fellowship – and some serious stepping.


High Point of Flemington presented a Health Day and Awareness Day it’s clients will not soon forget. The special day of groups and education promoted a holistic approach to the treatment of mental illness and substance misuse. Special activities for the day included yoga, a healthy eating program -complete with a delicious, fresh corn salad, aroma therapy and anti-stigma messaging.

The day opened with yoga session for mental health clients. Alison Levine from Life-in-Balance Yoga studio in Flemington volunteered her time and talents. She led the mental health clients through a gentle chair yoga practice. Some clients had experience with yoga, others not. In either case, the participants found themselves utterly relaxed and at peace by the end of the hour.

Alison’s session with High Point’s Substance use clients went on for more than an hour, with clients fully engaged throughout.  Most in the group used yoga mats and as the session progressed, they were able to some fairly advanced poses. The instructor was impressed with their balance . To close the session, Alison provided some tranquil music and gradually eased the participants out of their focused, meditative state.

Nutrition is of course essential to overall health. High Point’s partner Zufall Health offers SNAP Education. Kim Seppelt is the Hunterdon County educator and she came prepared with information and a quite tasty sample of corn salad seasoned with cilantro. Clients devoured both the salad and the facts about consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Kim stressed that it was not so difficult to do. She also handed out recipes that included the one for the salad she served and for a creamy corn soup.

Along with the sense of taste, the sense of smell also played a part in the Health Day. High Point counselor Becka Galarza went through the basics of aroma therapy with a room-full of clients and allowed them to experience different essential oils. She explained the different ways to use essential oils and the properties of the different oils and also provided some history about the cultures that first used them.

The aroma part of aroma therapy is often done using a diffuser, which enables the person to inhale the aroma of an essential oil. They can also be used topically or ingested. Becka reveiwed how various oils affect an individual: Lavender promotes relaxation and rejuvenation and was used by the ancient Egyptians. Orange is uplifting and purifying, and has a sweet fragrance. Tea tree, used for centuries by Australia’s aboriginal people, has a healing quality.

Substance use clients participated in a group that addressed stigma, designing cards with messaging that reflected both the derisive terms directed at people with a substance use disorder and the positive feelings they have about their treatment and steps towards recovery.

The day also featured a guest speaker who talked about recovery from substance use, sharing her  experience, strength and hope with the group. Her talk included her personal history, what happened and what her life is like today.  The clients were given an opportunity to ask questions or share their experience.

High Point staff created some games that reinforced recovery and wellness. These included a recovery board game and a trivia contest that was variation on Jeopardy. The responses all related to mental health and substance use treatment and recovery.

This clients were captivated by the many health-focused activities. Considering their delight with the array of special groups, the emphasis on recovery and the connection between physical and emotional health, more such days at High Point cannot be far off.



High Point supports our clients with mental illness and addiction and sets them on the path to recovery, fulfillment and independence

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162 Broad Street
Flemington, NJ 08822


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