Blog

  • A New Report: Physician Perspectives and Insights on the Evolving Drug Crisis in America

    Posted 11/6/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    In a first-of-its kind survey included in a new report by Quest Diagnostics, 500 U.S. primary care physicians were asked questions about prescribing controlled substances, such as opioids, amphetamines and benzodiazepines to their patients. The survey found that 72% of primary care physicians trusted their patients to take their controlled medications as prescribed when in fact 51% of patients who were prescribed opioids or other controlled medications showed signs of misuse, including drug mixing.

     

    The report findings underline the need to continue to educate prescribers about safe-prescribing methods and to encourage patients to ask questions about proper use and disposal of any unwanted, expired or unused medication to prevent access to these highly addictive substances.

  • Marijuana - A More Commonly Used Teen Drug Than Tobacco

    Posted 10/30/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    A study from the University of Nebraska’s College of Public Health concluded that there are more teens using marijuana and alcohol than there are teens smoking cigarettes.



    Researchers looked at marijuana, alcohol, and cigarette use among U.S. teens from 1991 to 2017 and found that the number of teens who said they used marijuana at least once over the past month rose 10-fold, from 0.6% in 1991 to 6.3% in 2017, according to HealthDay reports. The report also states that teens who said they used marijuana and alcohol combined almost doubled, from 3.6% to 7.6%.

     

    During that same time period, high school students who smoked cigarettes dropped from 4.4% to 1.3%.

  • Safe Disposal Saves Lives!​

    Posted 10/23/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    National Take Back Day is this Saturday, October 26!

     

    As National Take Back Day approaches, I would like to remind everyone of the importance of safeguarding medicine in their home to prevent access to these highly addictive medicines. This is so important because we know that many teens who misuse opioids get them from the medicine cabinets of their friends and families.

     

    This crisis is devastating our state and nation. Over 3,000 New Jersey families lost a loved one in 2018 alone as a result of this epidemic.

  • How to Handle The New Jersey Opioid Settlement

    Posted 10/16/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    At the New Jersey Law Enforcement Conference held back in May, Attorney General Grewal first publicly announced that New Jersey would be one of numerous states suing Purdue Pharma and the Sackler Family for sparking an epidemic with their aggressive and misleading marketing of opioids.

     

    As we await the outcome of the lawsuit, Linda Schwimmer, President and CEO of New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI), cautions the state to handle any opioid settlements better than those New Jersey got from Big Tobacco.

     

    All the best, 
    Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of PDFNJ

     

    By: Linda Schwimmer

     

    As New Jersey and other states consider settlements with Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies for their aggressive and misleading marketing of opioids, how our state handled another crisis provides a cautionary tale — one that we ignore at our own peril.

     

    Just look back to 1998. After years of litigation over the marketing, sale and harmful effects of tobacco, New Jersey and 45 other states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories entered into a landmark agreement with the four largest tobacco companies. This agreement, known as the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), imposed far-reaching restrictions on how tobacco products could be marketed and sold. The settlement required Big Tobacco to pay billions of dollars to the states in perpetuity to offset the costs they incurred as a result of the harmful effects of tobacco products.

  • Somerset Hills Community Strives to Knock Out Opioid Abuse​

    Posted 10/9/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    In observance of Recovery Month in September, Faith leaders have a significant role in addressing NJ’s opioid and addiction epidemic.  Community in Crisis (CIC) has partnered with various houses of worship in the Somerset Hills to educate and raise awareness about the disease of addiction throughout the entire month of October.

     

    Congregations and community residents will come together on Sunday, October 13th for a walk through downtown Basking Ridge, which will begin in front of St. James Church at 11:30 a.m. and will finish in front of Bishop Janes United Methodist Church (BJUMC) where prayers, testimonials, and dedications will be made.

     

    Church leaders from all denominations will give sermons centered on the disease of addiction and offer prayers for individuals and families who are affected by it.

  • Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day - 3 DAYS AWAY!

    Posted 10/3/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    We are just THREE DAYS AWAY from the fourth annual Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day in New Jersey.

     

    On Sunday, October 6 individuals all throughout the state will embark on a crucial prevention initiative, spreading awareness and education within their communities about the risks posed by prescription painkillers and their link to heroin use.

     

    Recently signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is a single-day statewide event held annually on October 6. It is a day when thousands of volunteers, including law enforcement, prevention and treatment specialists, medical professionals, parents and several other concerned New Jersey residents and advocates canvas their neighborhoods distributing informative materials that highlight the addictive potential of opioids and safe-prescribing practices.

     

    Teams of volunteers throughout the state distribute prescriber guides to their local physicians and place informative door hangers on the front doors of homes throughout their neighborhood, inside of schools, throughout apartment buildings, in their place of work, inside of grocery bags—just about anywhere people are bound to see them. In previous years, individuals have encouraged their local pizzerias to participate in Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day by placing them on top of pizza boxes.

     

    We encourage our volunteers to find new and creative ways to get these important messages out in the community for all to see.

     

    If you are interested in getting materials and volunteering within your community, you can sign up here or call our office at 973-467-2100.

  • Vaping: The New Epidemic

    Posted 9/25/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Health concerns about vaping are swirling throughout the nation as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently confirmed an 8th vaping-related death and has activated its emergency operations center to coordinate the investigation into about 500 cases of severe lung illnesses linked to electronic cigarettes.


    Since May of this year, individuals in various states have suddenly become ill after using e-cigarettes, reporting symptoms that resemble a pneumonia, including coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing.


    While there are many people in various age groups who vape, research shows that the number of teens who vape has doubled since 2017. The attractive and flavorful vape products, like mango and blue raspberry, certainly play a role in this growing epidemic among our youth and has led to discussions to ban the sale of e-flavored cigarette products throughout the country.

  • Community Involvement Can Help Knock Out Opioid Abuse

    Posted 9/18/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    14-year-old Toms River resident Alessandra Sophia Regenye, is determined to help bring focus to the opioid crisis impacting her hometown and used her recent Jersey Shore Girl Scout Cadette Silver Award Project to do just that, by creating the Toms River “Art Heals” Community Mural for Healing and Recovery.

     

    Alessandra Sophia, with many community volunteers created the “Arts Heals” mural in downtown Toms River to bring awareness to the Opioid Crisis and to remind residents and visitors to that hope for recovery is possible. Alessandra Sophia explained that her project is meant to bring communities together and inspire others to get involved and make their community a better place in some way.

     

    She was able to achieve her goal of bringing together many local stakeholders who were able, through the “Arts Heals” project to be part of the solution to address the opioid crisis in their town. Next week, the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Series begins again, with a focus on what is happening to develop a solution to the opioid crisis in individual communities across our state. Alessandra Sophia will be one of those featured at the September 25th event in Toms River, and I invite all those with ties to the community to attend. Each of us, regardless of our age -- as Alessandra Sophia demonstrated can help raise awareness and educate our neighbors and friends on the opioid crisis, whether through attending a town hall or sharing information during Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.

  • We Will Never Forget –September 11, 2001

    Posted 9/11/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Today marks 18 years since the horrible tragedy that befell our nation on September 11, 2001. It is hard to believe that almost two decades have passed since this act of terrorism claimed thousands of lives and impacted an entire nation of people.

     

    Whether indirectly or directly impacted, these acts of violence inflicted harm and instilled fear in the American people, but we did not accept defeat. In the midst of the rubble, we stood together and raised our flag as a symbol of hope and endurance.

     

    We still stand together today, 18 years later, grieving all those who lost their lives, honoring our first responders, and commending those who carried on. Your memory and valor will never be forgotten.

  • Back to School Tools To Help Keep Our Youth Drug-Free

    Posted 9/4/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    As always, the summer months came and went so quickly, and now it’s time to put away the beach chairs and pull out the books as we head back into another exciting school year!

     

    A countless number of great opportunities lie ahead as students return to the classroom. Over the course of the year, students will be learning new things, making new friends, and continuing to grow. It is important that as they continue on their journey of learning their education also includes prevention to continue living a healthy lifestyle free of drugs.

     

    Adolescent drug use is evolving, and our youth are at greater risk of using and becoming dependent on certain substances. Vaping, in particular, has become concerning trend among adolescents. Research shows that electronic cigarettes are the most frequently used tobacco product, and vaping may lead to brain damage. It is important for educators, parents, and caregivers to be aware of the current risks teens are facing to help aid in drug-use prevention.

     

    Thankfully, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey offers several programs that can help keep you informed on up-to-date substance use research.

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