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BERNARDSVILLE – Community in Crisis (CiC), a local non-profit organization, is inviting adult residents of the Somerset Hills to take a short online survey to give their opinions on youth substance use and perceptions of substance use in the Somerset Hills.

This survey comes at a crucial time for our community – two years into a pandemic and during the process to legalize recreational marijuana. Since the beginning of the pandemic, substance use among adolescents has dropped sharply, according to Monitoring the Future, a national study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. This decrease is attributed to the pandemic’s social isolation guidelines causing a decline in the availability of substances and a lack of unmonitored time with peers. CiC seeks to determine if this decline in substance use is occurring in our community as well.

“If our towns follow what we see happening nationally, we have a cohort of teens not using alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, and other substances at levels we have typically seen, so their developing brains are not being affected by substances,” explained Toni Knoll, CiC’s Consulting Director. “This delay in when they start using substances should give them advantages that will improve their entire lives, including better academic performance, health, and reduced use of substances in adulthood.”

CiC Parents Prevention and Early ActionAdditionally, as the legalization of marijuana moves into practice in New Jersey, cultural norms and social acceptance of marijuana use will shift. These efforts to monitor changing perceptions of youth substance use in our community will track that shift on a local level.

Amy Mahoney Harris, MPH, consulting epidemiologist on the project said she was pleased with the high levels of participation with the community last year and hopes the residents of the Somerset Hills will once again answer the online survey. The survey is anonymous, and participants can enter their email for the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. This community assessment is funded by a federal Strategic Prevention Framework – Partnerships for Success grant.

CiC began in 2013 following the overdose deaths of two young adults in the Somerset Hills. A coalition of community agencies, organizations, schools, churches, and concerned citizens, the organization offers bi-weekly support groups for families struggling with addiction, innovative educational opportunities in the school environment, medicine take-back days, town hall meetings, and more.

Based at 9 Church St. in Bernardsville, its mission is to lead and unite communities to reduce the incidence and consequences of the misuse of substances through education, prevention, and holistic support in an environment free of stigma.

For more information or to get involved with CiC, email or visit For more information on the survey, contact Toni Knoll at The online survey will be collecting responses throughout the month of February.

To take the survey, visit