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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Committee

 In brief: Created to advise the Public Affairs Committee of the Board on programs to inform the public of available services and information regarding the treatment of substance abuse problems and problems relative to mental health, the committee generally meets on the fourth Thursday of the month, except July and August, at 7:30 p.m. at the Township Administration Building, 8230 Old York Road, Elkins Park.

Ordinance Establishing Committee


2020 Members

 Howard H. Covitz, Ph.D.

 Mathew Abraham

 Daniel Alt

 Beverly Fries

 Jacques Lipetz, Ph.D.

Major Committee Undertakings 


Community Forums

Early Diagnosis and Intervention: Identifying Autism in Your Child
February 22, 2016 at Rowland Community Center

  -  A five-member panel of experts provided information and answered questions about the early signs of autism, who to turn to for diagnosis and what to do next.


Making a Difference Awards

Recognizes a person, business or organization that contributes to the community in any of the following ways:

  • Preventing tobacco, drug or alcohol abuse

  • Increasing awareness of the dangers of drug or alcohol abuse

  • Improving conditions for the mentally ill

  • Combating domestic violence

  • Mentoring children to achieve their potential

  • Improving the well-being for older adults

  • Any other health-related activity that makes a difference in these areas.

The nomination deadline is late April. Submit a nomination.

 2014 Making a Difference 1  2014 Making a Difference 2
2014 MAKING A DIFFERENCE WINNER. The Klein Senior Center at Adath Jeshurun was selected as one of two winners in 2014 for providing an opportunity for area seniors to socialize, learn, exercise, eat and be entertained on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for just $2 per day, with the cooperation of the Montgomery County Department of Adult and Senior Services.  Representing the center were (front, left to right) Sue Weiner, Klein Active Adult Center Director; Joanne Beck, Life Long Learning Coordinator; Barbara Shotz, Vice President Klein Jewish Community Center; and Dayna Glantz, Klein Active Adult Center Program Director.  Susan Miller (front, right),  SAMH chairperson, joined Commissioners (left to right) Ann L. Rappoport, Morton J. Simon, Jr.,  Harvey Portner and Daniel B. Norris in presenting the award. 2014 MAKING A DIFFERENCE WINNER. The Salem Baptist Church Health and Wellness Ministry of Jenkintown, an advocacy program of the Alzheimer’s Association, was selected as one of two winners in 2014 for providing forums, information and services for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients through their Comfort Care Support Program and for recently enhancing the Senior Center by adding hours for working older adults.  Frederick Waugh (third from left), chairperson for the Health and Wellness Ministry’s Older Adult Subcommittee, accepted the award from Susan Miller (second from right), SAMH chairperson, and Commissioners (left to right) Ann L. Rappoport, Morton J. Simon, Jr., Harvey Portner and Daniel B. Norris.


Essay/Mulit-Media Contest Contest

To engage students in thinking about various issues relating to substance abuse and mental health, the Committee sponsors an annual contest for grades 5-12 in public, private and parochial schools in the community that includes multi-media submissions including poems, short videos, artwork and photography in addition to essays to depict the topics. Students are encouraged to explore and support their opinions, feelings, and/or personal experiences, without mentioning the names of individuals, regarding the topic issues each year.


Walter Luchay of Wyncote Academy wins 2015 Substance Abuse & Mental Health Committee Multimedia Contest Walter Luchay (front, center) of Wyncote Academy was a 2015 Winner of the Cheltenham Township Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) Committee’s annual essay/multi-media contest, which promotes awareness of the dangers of substance abuse. He received his certificate and prize at a Board of Commissioners meeting at Curtis Hall in Wyncote.  Kerry Ann Learis (front, right), head of school at Wyncote Academy and Susan Miller (front, second from right),  member of the SAHM Committee, joined Commissioners (left to right) Ann L. Rappoport, Morton J. Simon, Jr., Daniel B. Norris, Harvey Portner, Baron B. Holland, Charles D. McKeown, Sr., and Drew Sharkey in making the presentation. Also honored but not shown was Isaiah West, also of Wyncote Academy.



In past years, the Committee has participated in Safe Schools Grant and has applied for Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board grants.


School District/Township Events

Traditionally, the Committee has attended Back to School Nights at Cheltenham School District to provide valuable information to parents and has participated at Township events like Market Day, the Glenside Street Fair and the Community Harvest Festival to distribute materials to the community.

SAMH at Run for Jake 2012



The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Committee had a table at the Run for Jake/Health Fair on April 15, 2012.









Creedon Memorial and Youth at Peace, and Prom Letter

The Committee honors Cheltenham and Bishop McDevitt High School seniors who contribute significantly to the issues of substance abuse and mental health by presenting awards at their graduation ceremonies.  The Committee also helped launch an annual prom letter from the Chief of Police to Cheltenham and Bishop McDevitt High School students regarding the dangers of substance abuse that can transform a wonderful rite of passage into a tragedy.



The Committee supports the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) curriculum in Cheltenham School District and often sends representatives to their graduation ceremonies.



The Committee collects and periodically updates its distribution material, provided by county, state and federal agencies. 





Drop Off Unwanted Drugs

Cheltenham Township officials invite residents to drop off unwanted medications at the Cheltenham Police Station, open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. seven days a week, at 8230 Old York Road in Elkins Park. Cheltenham is one of dozens of communities participating in the Montgomery County District Attorney Prescription Drug Disposal Program.

Years ago, doctors used to advise people to flush unneeded medications down the toilet. However, experts now agree that medicines that are flushed or poured down the drain can end up polluting our waters and contaminating our food and water supplies.  Because wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove medicines, these chemicals may be discharged to rivers and bays. Even at very low levels, medicines in the environment hurt aquatic life.

            Throwing them out with the trash is also dangerous. Drugs are still chemically active in the trash, even if mixed with kitty litter or coffee grounds. Several studies have shown that medicines in a landfill can be released into the local environment.

            The best and safest option for disposing of unwanted medications is to drop them off at designated disposal sites like the Cheltenham Township Police Station. 

Cheltenham Township   ~   8230 Old York Road   ~   Elkins Park, PA 19027
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8AM-4:30PM
Phone: 215-887-1000   ~   Fax: 215-887-1561
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