by Margo Harvey | Mar 8, 2005
SODAT of NJ Does someone you love have a substance abuse problem? SODAT of New Jersey, Inc. can help. SODAT stands for Services to Overcome Drug abuse Among Teenagers. Their mission is to prevent and treat the diseases of addiction and co-occurring disorders. They strive to reduce their devastating effects on individuals, families and the community by providing compassionate, affordable services to those in need.

Since 1969, SODAT has been providing outpatient alcohol/drug abuse counseling and primary Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug (ATOD) Prevention services. SODAT is a multi-faceted, non-profit drug/alcohol outpatient treatment and prevention agency. They are headquartered in Gloucester County, with additional satellite facilities located in Salem, Burlington, Camden, and Cumberland Counties.

There is a dedicated and knowledgeable staff on hand to help those with concerns, questions, or problems. Their staff consists of professionals with or working toward state and national certifications in the substance abuse field. SODAT has received two National awards (from the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services) for their innovative prevention programs and was praised as an Outstanding Agency in New Jersey by the Juvenile Delinquency Clearinghouse Newsletter for their efforts in combating the war on drugs. SODAT is licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health and is a United Way member agency in Burlington, Gloucester and Salem Counties.

The name of the organization suggests that they only lend their services to teenagers, but this is not true. SODAT initially was established to treat youths, however they now treat people of all ages for drug and alcohol abuse. They provide outpatient and intensive outpatient alcohol and drug counseling for adults and adolescents; drug and alcohol evaluations for adults and adolescents; student assistance programs; employee assistance programs; comprehensive prevention services; Strengthening Families; public education; Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug (ATOD) educational programs; juvenile/adult criminal justice programs; parenting skills training and parenting effectiveness education; support groups for Children Of Substance Abusers (COSA); support groups for at-risk youth; peer leadership programs; peer tutoring; educational/vocational advocacy programs; Cognitive Behavior Skills Training programs; gender specific programs; youth life/social skills training; drug-free recreational activities; and community education.

SODAT has been expanding to better serve those in need. SODAT opened a Teen Center in the Deptford Mall in September of 1993. In 2000, SODAT expanded its Woodbury facility into a second building on the property of Woodbury Society of Friends. They now have offices in Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties. SODAT extended services into Salem County in 1978, Burlington County in 1985, Camden County in 1990 and Cumberland County in 1995. SODAT’s expansion into these counties was based on fulfilling an unmet substance abuse treatment/prevention need in the various counties.

The Teen Center in South Jersey has helped prevent drug use by providing the youth a place to turn. The teens in Gloucester County decided there was a need for a Teen Hang Out. They came to SODAT of NJ, Inc to help. With the help of the United Way of Gloucester County, they established the Teen Learning to Care (TLC) center, located in the Deptford Mall. TLC offers positive alternatives for youth (ages 10 to 18) to substance abuse by providing drug/alcohol-free activities for at-risk youth. They provide a safe and comfortable atmosphere for youth while teaching them life and social skills training, along with drug/alcohol prevention education. TLC promotes a drug/alcohol-free lifestyle and allows youth to receive the skills and confidence needed to resist the pressures they are faced with on a regular basis. Activities offered at TLC include peer tutoring, anger management, movie night, Children of Divorce/Separation support groups, and Strengthening Families Program. There are special activities that the youth really enjoy, including the first annual talent show in the center court of the mall (April of 2004), a softball game, theme parties each month that include Back to School and Holiday parties, Coffeehouse/Open Mic night the first Wednesday of each month, Karaoke Nights, and Discussion and Debate night. If you would like to reach the Teen Center, you can call (856) 845-0552.

There are different treatment and prevention services that are provided by SODAT in each county. Treatment services available in Burlington County are Drug and Alcohol Evaluations, Drug and Alcohol Education Groups, Gender Specific Groups, Adolescent Specific Groups, Outpatient Groups (maximum 8 hours per week), Intensive Outpatient Groups, (minimum 9 hours per week), Intoxicated Drivers Resource Groups, Random Urine Analysis, and EAP Services and Private Counseling. The prevention services available are Strengthening Families and Children of Substance Abusers (COSA). The first is a Free Prevention Program for parents and children to improve family relationships. Groups assist families in building a strong unit that promotes avoidance of alcohol and drug use. Free weekly dinner and free field trips involved. Groups held locally. The second is Support groups held for Children (age 5-17) who have been affected by a parent’s substance abuse. Parental participation is not required. A child’s recovery does not depend on a parent’s sobriety. If you would like to reach SODAT of Burlington County, call (609) 265-7884.

The same treatment services are available in Camden County as in Burlington County, but they offer some different prevention programs. Besides Strengthening Families and COSA, there is a Positive Action Program (in schools). This is an integrated, comprehensive program that improves the academic achievement and multiple behaviors of children and adolescents 5 to 18 years of age. It is intensive with lessons at each grade level from kindergarten to grade 12 that are reinforced school-wide, at home and in the community. It includes school, family and community components that work together or stand-alone. To reach the Camden County SODAT, call (856) 964-5000.

An additional treatment service is provided in Gloucester County. This service is Adult Jail Groups (male and female). The prevention services they provide are Strengthening Families, COSA, Deptford Mall Teen Center, and the Even Start Program. This last program works with Gloucester County Institute of Technology. Families are treated to home visits to stress the importance of learning, even giving children as young as 3 years learning skills. Their parents are also participating in GCIT’s adult classes. To reach the Gloucester County SODAT, call 1-888-792-4383.

Salem County offers the same treatment services as Gloucester County. Yet, they have some additional prevention services. Like the other counties, they provide Strengthening Families and COSA, but they also have Positive Action Programs (in schools), Gender Specific (Female), Project IMPROVE (Male), and Cognitive Skills. Gender Specific (Female) assists in reducing the number of gender bias and discrimination in our communities by assisting juvenile females, in Salem County, to reach their full potential by providing them with the gender specific life and social skills training, drug/alcohol prevention education. Project IMPROVE (Initiating, Motivation, Productivity, Responsibility to Obtain valued Education/Employment) provides services to Salem County youth ages 13 to 18 who are at risk of dropping out of school or have already dropped out of school, and/or youth residing in or returning from juvenile detention centers. Cognitive Skills has the goal of providing Salem County juvenile courts and probation officers with a sentencing option to allow them to be more effective and efficient in holding juvenile offenders accountable and to reduce the recidivism rate of adolescents and severity of crimes. The adolescents will be provided with a drug/alcohol education group, cognitive behavior skills group and community service. To reach the Salem County SODAT, call (856) 935-0441.

Cumberland County SODAT is currently expanding their services to include treatment services. Up to this point they have only been providing prevention services. The prevention services they offer are as follows: Strengthening Families, COSA, Positive Action Programs (in schools), and Anger Management. To reach them, call 1-888-792-4383.

SODAT needs your help to continue helping others in need. As they are a non-profit operation, they are always looking for donations of any kind. Monetary is best, but they can also use donations of food, office supplies and office furniture. At this time, they have some repairs to make to two of their buildings and would love to have someone donate the labor and supplies. All donations are tax deductible. There currently are no planned fundraisers, but they usually hold a Health Fair in September to coincide with National Recovery Month. Want to donate your time? They are always in need of volunteers to help in a variety of ways such as working with their parent and children’s groups, spending time at the Teen Center and helping with the group sessions that are conducted at all of their offices and other places in South Jersey.

For additional information, call SODAT of New Jersey toll free at 1-888-792-4383. You may also call (856) 845-6363 or fax (856) 848-3022. You may also email them at You can also visit their website at Here you can find a wealth of information and facts on drug and alcohol abuse.

For more on local Organizations, visit our South Jersey Organizations page.

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Author: Margo Harvey


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