Blog

  • Taking a Closer Look at the Link between Elder Abuse and the Substance Abuse Epidemic

    Posted 6/1/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    The impact of opiate abuse is far reaching regardless of income, gender or age. This week I would like to bring focus to an article published by the Boston Globe in May 2016 about the rising surge of elder abuse in Massachusetts and its direct relation to the ongoing opiate epidemic this country is facing. According to the article, 24,978 cases of elder abuse were reported last year in Massachusetts. Over the past five years, elder abuse in Massachusetts rapidly increased and law enforcement as well as government officials believe the opioid crisis is behind it.

  • New Jersey High School Students Shout Down Drugs at Statewide Substance Abuse Prevention Music Competition

    Posted 5/25/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    Twenty-nine finalists representing fourteen counties competed with songs they composed themselves that express deep and thoughtful messages about substance abuse prevention. The talent that was showcased on the stage at Rutgers University’s Nicholas Music Center in New Brunswick on May 25 was incredible. It is gratifying to know that these amazing teen musicians are devoted to a healthy and drug-free lifestyle.

  • Newly Introduced Senate Bill Limits the Amount of Opioids Prescribed to Patients

    Posted 5/18/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    This week, I would like to focus on New Jersey lawmakers and in particular Senator James Holzapfel’s (R-10) S2188 Bill which would require doctors to limit the amount of opioids prescribed to patients on a first-time basis or to minors to no longer than seven days. The prescription drug epidemic impacts all age groups and, in particular, our young people. As you will see in the video below, Lynn Regan, whose son David founded the "Loud N Clear" Foundation in Howell, knows firsthand just how devastating a substance abuse problem can be on one’s well-being and their loved ones. The proposed legislation would also have prescribers discuss risks of a drug with the parents/guardians of a minor or first-time user. This is crucial in developing strategies to reverse the prescription drug and heroin epidemic our state and nation are facing… as more and more of our children gain access to prescribed medications, more are getting addicted. Barnabas Hospital in Toms River is already limiting types of medications, dosages and frequency in their emergency rooms while St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson became the first in the nation to utilize an Alternative to Opiates Program in their emergency rooms. With efforts like these, we can ensure that all New Jerseyans are exposed to safer alternatives.

  • Before They Prescribe You Decide

    Posted 5/11/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    This week, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association introduced a series of recommendations addressing the prescribing of opiates for sports injuries. One recommendation states, “All opioid prescriptions should be accompanied with detailed information on use, including specific warnings about abuse and addiction risks.” Kudos to the NJSIAA for raising awareness about the need to for physicians to inform parents of the addictive qualities of the opioid medicine that is prescribed to their children. And, the need for parents to ask their physician about the addictive qualities of the opioid their children receive. #BeforeTheyPrescribeYouDecide

  • Parents Refuse to Bury Truth About Son's Heroin Overdose Death

    Posted 4/27/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    We are losing too many young people to the opiate abuse epidemic. We need to take every and all steps to save them and prevent the loss of these lives. This includes advocating for legislation for safer prescribing and to ensure that parents are educated about the addictive qualities of the medicine children are being prescribed, as NJ Assembly Bill 3424 will accomplish.

  • PDFNJ RxForum Sparks Ideas On Addressing NJ's Heroin Epidemic [VIDEO]

    Posted 4/20/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    Last Friday before a standing-room only audience, PDFNJ brought together national and state leaders to evaluate where our state was, is, and need to be in addressing the prescription drug and heroin epidemic that is ravaging our communities across our state. The forum is the first of a series that is being planned by PDFNJ to bring together all stakeholders to develop strategies in prevention, treatment, and safe prescribing for implementation in NJ. NJTV, along with many other media outlets, covered the forum and featured its outcome on their new channel.

  • New CDC Guidelines Underscore Need for Change in Painkiller Prescribing Practices

    Posted 4/13/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    Below is an editorial by Steve and Elaine Pozycki. They are board members of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey with Elaine serving as Co-Chair. ------------------------------------------------Editorial: Guidelines recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention take direct aim at the over-prescribing of opiate-based painkillers, urging primary care doctors to try alternatives such as physical therapy, exercise and over-the-counter pain medications first.

  • NJ Gathers on April 15th to Examine the Heroin Epidemic: Past, Present, and Future

    Posted 4/6/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    Next Friday April 15, 2016, PDFNJ will be hosting the first statewide comprehensive forum on Rx and Heroin Abuse examining the epidemic's beginnings, it's current impact in NJ, and specific plans to reverse this current trend. We are happy to report that the forum which will feature national and state experts is filled to capacity. It is gratifying and encouraging that so many individuals and groups throughout NJ will be attending this important forum focusing on saving lives. This upcoming forum was featured on Chris DeBello’s radio show, "Issues and Ideas" on April 3rd.

  • NJ Hospital 1st in the Nation to Provide Opioid Alternative to ER Patients

    Posted 3/30/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    I had the opportunity to participate in a press conference on Monday hosted by St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson. Senator Menendez, Senator Booker, and Congressman Pascrell were on hand to announce St. Joseph’s as the first hospital in the nation to stop prescribing opioids in their ER. Please share this news with your local hospital and ask them to join St. Joseph’s Hospital. Together we can start changing the culture of over-prescribing a drug that can be addictive and dangerous.

  • CDC Guidelines Aim to Curb Rx Abuse

    Posted 3/16/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    The release of the new "CDC Comprehensive Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain" is a solid first step addressing the opioid abuse epidemic we are facing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging primary care doctors to try physical therapy, exercise and over-the-counter pain medications before prescribing opioids for pain. These recommendations are in line with several experts who have participated in PDFNJ's Do No Harm symposium series. However, we know that these guidelines alone are not enough. Education is the key factor in preventing the abuse of opiates and it is vital that physicians inform patients of the potential for dependency when their medicine is prescribed, as well as discuss alternatives as outlined in the CDC guidelines. It is also important for patients, or the parents of patients, to ask their prescriber about the pain medicine they are prescribed.

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