New drug and alcohol counselor, Carolee Paruta, provides student guidance


Photo by Lily Caplan '22

Ms. Paruta attended Sacred Heart University for her undergraduate college and got her bachelor of psychology and earned her masters in Marriage and Family therapy from Fairfield University.

This year has been filled with difficult changes and a new way of life; however, many things have also changed for the better, one being the addition of a new Staples drug and alcohol counselor.

The new hire, Carolee Paruta, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC). Paruta began in March and primarily focuses on helping students with substance and alcohol abuse. 

“I’m not here to judge anybody, I’m just here to give guidance and help,” Paruta said. 

Paruta is the Director of Integrated Services at Liberation programs, which is the agency that works with Staples High School. Liberation is a health organization that specializes in treatment and recovery services for a variety of substance abuse and mental illnesses. 

Paruta is in the building Tuesdays and Fridays, and when she is not at Staples she does family work with Greenwich High School and at an outpatient program in Stamford. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology as well as a masters in family and marriage therapy and first began her career in a substance abuse agency. She works with individuals and their family members to help students and patients. 

Substance use affects the whole family; it’s not just the individual. So with working with the individual and then bringing in the family you kinda get it from both aspects.

— Carolee Paruta

“Substance use affects the whole family; it’s not just the individual,” Paruta said. “So with working with the individual and then bringing in the family you kinda get it from both aspects.” 

Students can get in touch with Paruta by reaching out to her directly or by reaching out to a guidance counselor, the main office, teacher, or the Kids in Crisis Teen Talk Counselor Melissa Rotante. 

“I think the new drug and alcohol counselor is good because it gives students an outlet to go to about real life issues without feeling embarrassed or feeling like they will be judged,” Nick Lukens ’21 said. 

Although she is here Tuesdays and Fridays, her schedule can be adjudicated regarding a student’s needs. Her office is located across the cafeteria in the pathways suite. 

“Mainly when I meet with students I want them to know it’s a safe place,” Paruta said. “A place that they can feel comfortable to have that conversation that they might not have with others.”