In New Jersey alone, over 2.75 million prescriptions for highly addictive opioids were potentially prescribed– to children, friends, and family members, and unfortunately, many times without the benefit of any information of their addictive qualities being shared by their prescriber. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey set out to address this issue with one key player in the fight against opiate abuse – PARENTS.
PDFNJ is making available to you, free of charge, the “Before They Prescribe - You Decide” campaign. This campaign is geared at educating parents on the link between prescribed prescription pain medicine and heroin abuse and encouraging and empowering them to speak to their doctor or dentist about the potential addictive qualities of pain medicine prescribed, as well as possible alternatives to opioids that are appropriate. Please access this campaign at DrugFreeNJ.org/BeforeTheyPrescribe, and utilize in your community. The materials and all content (including photos and artwork) should not be altered or used in any manner not authorized by us. We encourage you to bring this lifesaving message to your community.
How Can You Display these Messages in Your Community?
- School Resources
- Municipal Bill Inserts
- Movie Theater Previews
- Local Pharmacies
- Local Physician Offices
- Newspaper Ads
- Church Bulletins
- Electronic Billboards
Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. With New Jersey in the midst of an opiate abuse epidemic, it is important to have an Overdose Action Plan. The Center for Addiction Recovery Education & Success (CARES) has developed lifesaving recommendations to follow if you suspect someone is overdosing:
- Call 911 and report observable behavior.
- Administer Rescue Breathing
- Administer Naloxone
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
Visit CaresNJ.org for information, resources, and training on how to administer naloxone.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
No family is immune from this epidemic. Don’t let your family and friends become part of these statistics.
Stemming the tide of the opiate abuse epidemic impacting New Jersey cannot be done without all members of the community, including our Faith Based Leaders. The National Prevention Strategy calls on community, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations to support the implementation and enforcement of alcohol and drug control policies. This includes educating youth and adults about the risks of prescription drug misuse and increasing awareness on the proper storage and disposal of prescription medications. Over the past two years, PDFNJ has help symposiums to educate the faith community on how it can become engaged as the often times, first responders for families impacted by addiction.
Next month, on September 20th, a Do No Harm symposium for the faith-based Community symposium will be held to empower the religious community in Middlesex County and our state with information and education on preventing opiate abuse, and helping those who are addicted: REGISTER HERE.
Don’t Get Hooked on Drugs Fishing Tournament Kicks Off and Encourages Families to Spend Quality Time Together
Time off from school, plenty of sunshine, and the hot days of summer are the perfect tools for enjoying quality time with family. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is encouraging the way to do just that: participating in the second annual Don’t Get Hooked on Drugs Online New Jersey Family Fishing Tournament.
From Friday, August 19 at 12:01 a.m. to Sunday, August 28 at 11:59 p.m., children 18 years of age or younger can enjoy a family fishing trip, take a picture posing with their family and post it with the hashtag #drugfreenj. Pictures can be posted by liking PDFNJ’s Facebook page at Drug-Free NJ or by following PDFNJ on Twitter and Instagram.
(l-r) U.S Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Executive Director Angelo Valente, and NJ Sen. Bob Menendez discuss Murthy’s plan to issue the first ever Surgeon General’s report on Addiction and Health.
On Monday, through the efforts of Senator Robert Menendez and Senator Cory Booker, I was honored to moderate a panel discussion featuring both U.S. Senators, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin to discuss the opiate epidemic and steps being taken to stem the tide of this public health crisis that is impacting millions of NJ residents and Americans.
As all of PDFNJ’s subscribers understand, since 2009 PDFNJ has been a leading voice and advocate for initiatives and legislation to help protect all family members, but particularly our children from the scourges of prescription drugs and heroin dependency. We are losing too many of our family, friends, and neighbors and we need to do everything possible to educate both prescribers and patients about the fact that opioids can become addictive and in many instances lead to heroin addiction. It is for this reason that the passage of NJ Assembly Bill 3424 is so crucial in protecting our children and families. This bill would require doctors and other prescribers, when treating a patient under 18 years of age, to discuss the potential risks of dependency with the patient and their parents before writing a prescription for opiate-based painkillers, as well as to review non-opiate alternative treatments when appropriate.
We need everyone’s help if we are truly going to turn the tide and reverse the epidemic in New Jersey and our country. Over the next several weeks we will be sharing with you an update on this and other legislation, as well as details about an upcoming statewide day of awareness, Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day, that will be held in every community on October 6, 2016.
During the panel discussion of the U.S. Surgeon General’s tour of NJ, each of the speakers stressed the fact that the opiate epidemic must have immediate steps taken in order for our state and our country to realize any progress…
I could not agree more!
With the leadership of New Jersey’s United States Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is pleased to welcome United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to New Jersey for a Forum on Addiction and Healing on August 8, 2016. Limited seats are still available, register today to guarantee your participation!
Over the last 2 years PDFNJ has hosted a series of trainings called "Do No Harm" for our state’s medical community. Close to 2,000 physicians and dentists have attended one of these symposiums and learned about the potential additive qualities that certain pain medicines can have on some patients. Based on the new undisputed understanding about the links between prescription drugs and heroin it is extremely concerning when there are still doctors in our state that are being charged, and in many cases convicted, for over-prescribing. Prescribing opiates without proper patient evaluation can potentially lead to addition. Doctors can and should be an important resource in reversing the heroin epidemic that New Jersey and our country are facing.
With the leadership of New Jersey’s United States Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is pleased to invite you to join us as we welcome United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to New Jersey for a Forum on Addiction and Healing on August 8, 2016. Joined by Under Secretary for Health at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and moderated by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, Surgeon General Murthy, Senators Menendez and Booker, will address New Jersey’s Heroin and Opioid Abuse Crisis at this forum.
The TalkNowNJ.Com website was designed to help raise awareness about the opiate abuse epidemic that is devastating families across the state. Four moms whose lives were forever changed by their children's addiction to opiates came together to help PDFNJ share information about the signs and symptoms of opiate abuse. This selfless effort helps other parents identify substance use disorders in their children and get them treatment, as well as reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and recovery. PDFNJ’s Co-Chair Elaine Pozycki, PICK Awareness’s Donna DeStefano, Meg Parisi and Abby Boxman - all four of the mom’s featured in the TalkNowNJ.Com video - tirelessly continue to share these messages and work to reduce stigma in their own ways. This Sunday, July 17th, Abby Boxman and the Boxman Family will be holding a Day of Awareness and Memorial – an afternoon of educating the community about New Jersey's prescription drug/opioid epidemic. It will be held at the North Howell Little League on Oakerson Rd., and feature the New Jersey Shouts Down Drugs second place winner Michelle Greco, among others.
As substance use disorders become an even larger public health concern for so many families, researchers are trying to identify pre-existing conditions that may be an important indicator in developing targeted prevention initiatives. In a recent study, Canadian researchers have found that early childhood trauma was an important leading indicator in future substance abuse disorders and alcohol abuse. At a recent conference held in Maryland and hosted by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA) that I attended, several pilot programs are now in effect across our country that trigger communications between law enforcement and school counselors once children are witness to, or involved in, a traumatic experience in their homes. The purpose of these programs is to immediately provide all the necessary support for those children that school districts have available to them.