Family Counseling Center Becomes Schools’ Top Substance Abuse Resource

Newtown Bee Article By Larissa Lytwyn

The Family Counseling Center, 121 Mt Pleasant Road, will replace district substance abuse counselor Pam Crowcroft as the town’s primary substance abuse resource for Newtown schools.

“For the same cost, we can have an entire team of professionals that can make referrals and perform a wider range of services for our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Evan Pitkoff during the school board’s last meeting on June 1.

Director of Pupil Personnel Services Michael Regan said he was pleased at the change, especially during a time when substance abuse, which he described as a “community-based problem,” has been at the forefront of the town’s consciousness in recent months.

“The new district substance abuse counselor will be employed from the Family Counseling Center,” Dr Regan explained. “Students and their families can have access to family counseling, psychiatric evaluations – all types – beyond the school day.”

He added that it would be easier for students to gain referrals for out-of-town care if desired.

“Perhaps in the past, students may have hesitated to speak with the [district] substance abuse counselor because they were concerned that word would get through to the administration,” suggested school board member David Nanavaty. “Would you say that with this outside service the students would have more, or, I should say, greater guarantee of confidentiality?”

“I would say I would agree with that, yes,” replied Dr Regan.

Board member Tom Gissen said the wider range of services the Family Counseling Center could provide pleased him.

“I think this is great,” he said. “It’s a very good idea.”

Family Counseling Center executive director Terry Blackmer was on vacation this week and could not be reached for comment. Used with permission Copyright © 1999-2004 Bee Publishing Company




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The mission of the Newtown Parent Connection is to educate and empower the community in the prevention of substance abuse and to embrace families in crisis.

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A weekly gathering for parents and caregivers with children or loved one's affected by substance use/abuse. This group provides a confidential venue to receive information and support concerning how to handle their child's or loved one's suspected or confirmed use of substances. Facilitated by an experienced drug & alcohol counselor.

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Founder & Executive Director

Dorrie Carolan and her husband raised their four children in Newtown, CT. Starting the Parent Connection was never part of her plan.

The issue of substance abuse became personal when her eldest son, Brian, became addicted and subsequently died at age 28 of a prescription drug overdose. Through the struggles caused by Brian's addiction, Dorrie became aware that this was an issue that affected many others in the community. She founded the Parent Connection in 1993 in an attempt to network with other concerned Newtown parents. It was the impetus behind many policy changes in town and within the schools.

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Dorrie Carolan  - Executive Director

Joseph Hemingway - President 

Gene Vetrano- Vice President

Frank Crudo- Treasurer

Kevin Carolan -Secretary

Maggie Conway

David Cooper

Anne Dalton

Kathleen Moonan

Ken Rodbell

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