8am-4pm | Conference Center at Mercer

1200 Old Trenton Rd, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550, USA

#RECO2023 is a wrap!

A Heartfelt Thank You to All Participants of the NJ-CARS 5th Annual Recovery Ecosystems Conference

As the curtain closes on an invigorating and inspiring day of learning, we extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who participated in the NJ-CARS 5th Annual Recovery Ecosystems Conference. Your presence, insights, and unwavering commitment to recovery and care, have been the keystones of this event’s success.

A special thank you to our esteemed speakers and workshop leaders whose expertise and experiences have enriched our understanding and expanded our toolkit for fostering a robust recovery ecosystem.

To our Prevention Links team, your dedication and hard work have been indispensable. To our sponsors and partners, your support has been fundamental to bringing this vision to life.

And to each attendee, your engagement and the shared stories of challenge and triumph have reminded us all of the powerful impact of community and the collective pursuit of growth and healing.

We hope you left the conference with renewed energy, innovative ideas, and strong connections that will support you in your ongoing work.

Please keep an eye on our conference page and social media for highlights from this year’s event and updates on future gatherings. We are already looking forward to what we will accomplish together in the days ahead.

With warm appreciation,

The NJ-CARS Team

Insightful Keynotes.

Thought-Provoking Panels.

Interactive Workshops.






Offering CEU’s for Certified Peer Recovery Specialists


Radical Inclusion: A Liberatory Wellness Perspective for Designing the Future We Want to Live In

Dr. Juan Rios, LCSW (He/Him)

Seton Hall University, Assistant Professor


Juan Rios, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist, Certified Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, and TEAM CBT Therapist, is an accomplished scholar and researcher in the field of social work. He has attained a Bachelor of Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University, a Master of Social Work from Rutgers University, and a Doctorate Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. Additionally, he holds a certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from Fordham University and certified UX/UI Designer.

Currently, Dr. Rios serves as a full-time faculty professor at Seton Hall University and has served as the Director of the Master of Social Work program. He has also worked as a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University and a ranked adjunct lecturer at New York University. Dr. Rios has conducted extensive research on a range of topics, including trauma narratives of Latinx migrant women, effectiveness of mindfulness in the classroom for undocumented children in the United States, traumatic effects of migration, and issues surrounding masculinity and depression. His research on mental health and policing has garnered national attention and sparked important conversations about wellness and safety.

Dr. Rios has published several articles on mindfulness, trauma, and social justice in various academic journals. His research has been instrumental in shedding light on the experiences of marginalized communities and has contributed significantly to the field of social work. He is also a Social Work Health Futures Scholar at Portland State University, where he has developed curricula on teaching social justice using virtual reality and a model for mindful usage of virtual reality. Dr. Rios’s commitment to social justice is evident in his involvement in various diversity and inclusion initiatives at Seton Hall University and his role in the Truth Racial Healing and Transformation Center initiative.

As a distinguished field instructor for various Social Work University Masters programs, including Fordham University, New York University, and Rutgers University, Dr. Rios has provided clinical and organizational consultation to community mental health programs. He is the founder and Clinical Director of Rios and Associates Therapeutic Solutions, LLC, and a fellow member of the New Jersey Society for Clinical Social Workers. Dr. Rios’s dedication to empowering his clients to live their lives to the fullest is reflected in his person-centered approach to therapy, which encompasses various clinical modalities ranging from Existential, Psychodynamic, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to EMDR and TEAM CBT.


Gender-Affirming Support in Recovery Systems at the Micro, Meso, and Macro Level


Coco Kuebler, B.A., CRSP (they/she) and Jyoni Tetsuro Shuler, M.Sc. (she/they)

The initial interactive elements of the workshop will invite participants to ask themselves when they were first aware of their gender experience and how that may have changed over time, sometimes in concert and in conflict with their gender expression. The workshop presenters will engage intersections with dimensions of difference such as race, ability, class, and more while discussing how T+ gender experiences can shape recovery. The presenters will then cover gender-affirming support and service methods at levels micro (e.g. staff-to-participant support), meso (e.g. organizational policy such as intake form format), and macro (e.g. state policy on Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care) with time for questions, incorporating both well-established and burgeoning scientific research on the subject. These methods will be discussed from the vantage point of T+ participants; T+ staff; the organizations that work to support them; and the political and policy context of these gender experiences. Discussions of recovery from substances and alcohol will be grounded in person-centered, harm reduction principles.

Recovery Friendly Workplaces, An Integral Part of a Recovery Friendly Community


Ken Musgrove, CPRS (he/him) and David Martinak, CPRS (he/him)

This workshop explores the mutually beneficial aspects and successful implementation of a recovery-friendly workplace initiative within the context of a recovery-friendly community. A Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) strengthens both the employer and employee by making the connection between recovery, well-being, and performance. This workshop will draw of knowledge of similar initiatives in neighboring states and the experience gained from the Recovery Friendly Workplace pilot program in Somerset County.


The Importance of Self-Forgiveness in Recovery


Frank Garris CPRS, CJC (he/him) and Tim Ryan MSW, CPRS (he/him)

When we hurt others, we often experience emotions such as guilt, shame, remorse, or regret. These emotions can lead to the avoidance of the individuals that are associated with what we’ve done. When we do that, we disengage from our core values. For those of us in recovery, self-forgiveness is especially important so that we can connect back to those values by accepting responsibility for what occurred. This involves making amends or restitution, then striving to live according to those values in the future. Attendees of this workshop will develop an understanding of the important components and factors of self-forgiveness, and how self-forgiveness is a vital component of self-care.

The New Substance Use Spectrum: The Colors of Recovery


Heather Ogden, CPRS, CRSP, CADCI, BA (she/her)

This workshop is a new and improved update from last year’s NJ-CARS Conference premiere of “The Integration of Harm Reduction and Recovery.” As peers we promise to meet people where they are, and to help them find their own best life in their chosen recovery path. This session examines how we can help others paint their own recovery masterpiece, while continuing to create our own. An interactive art activity helps to emphasize the unique nature of every person seeking wellness and recovery.


Mindful Choices: Harm Reduction Through Mindfulness


Dr. Moniquea Clark, E-RYT 200, YACEP, CPRS, B.A, M.Div., Certified Holistic Transformation Life Coach (she/her/hers)

In this engaging and informative workshop, participants will explore the powerful intersection of mindfulness and harm reduction. You’ll discover practical strategies and techniques to make mindful choices that promote well- being and minimize harm in various aspects of life. Through interactive exercises and discussions, you’ll learn how mindfulness can be applied to substance use, stress management, decision-making, and more. By the end of the workshop, you will have gained valuable insights and tools to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life for harm reduction and improved overall well- being. 



Mindful Movement, Breathwork, & Guided Meditation

When: Session I – 8:30am, Session II – 12:00pm

Where: Room 213 (2nd Floor)

Join Kim for some mindful movement, breathwork and a guided meditation that will help create a sense of ease in the body and mind. Being intentional is powerful and this will guide you into a clear and fully present mindset for the presentations and workshops.

No experience is necessary, the most important things to bring are a sense of curiosity and compassion for whatever you experience. The movements will be gentle and done standing and sitting. It is advised that you refrain from eating a meal prior and that you drink water after the session.


Facilitated by Kim Bradle (she/her):

Kim is the Program & Senior Volunteer Coordinator for the NJ Chapter of The Phoenix. Kim has also been facilitating Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation to individuals and groups for over 20 years.

Faces of NJ-CARS: Professional Headshots

Dress your best and join us in the morning and lunch hour to get your professional headshot taken!



Breakfast Hour (8am-9am)

Lunch Hour (12pm-1pm)



Room 123 (First Floor)


What To Bring:

Your Conference Badge & Smile 🙂


Interested in RECO2024 Sponsorship? STAYED TUNED!

Our conference presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to addiction recovery, support the advancement of recovery services, and showcase your organization to a diverse, statewide audience of stakeholders, professionals, and individuals in the recovery community.

As a sponsor, you will gain prominent visibility and recognition throughout the conference, allowing you to connect with key decision-makers, industry leaders, and passionate advocates. This is an ideal platform to promote your brand and services while demonstrating your dedication to the well-being of those affected by substance use disorders.

For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Mariel Hufnagel (she/her) at mhufnagel@preventionlinks.org





Prevention Links is a leading New Jersey nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting wellness, fostering resilience, preventing addiction, and supporting recovery. With a mission to empower individuals, families, and communities to thrive, PL delivers comprehensive programs and services that decrease risk factors and enhance protective factors for addiction. Through community prevention initiatives, recovery support, education, and advocacy, PL strives to create positive and lasting change in the lives of individuals and communities. Their innovative approach and collaborative partnerships make them a trusted resource for those seeking support, guidance, and opportunities for growth.

 In 2017, PL was awarded funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which supported the formation of NJ-CARS. PL serves as the fiscal agent for NJ-CARS, providing staffing, resources, expertise and support to ensure the Coalition’s success.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.