• New Jersey First State to Let Paramedics Offer Opioid Withdrawal Medicine

    Posted 7/31/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    New Jersey recently became the first state to let paramedics administer the opioid withdrawal drug, Buprenorphine, after they revive individuals who have overdosed.

    Buprenorphine is proven to effectively counteract the flu-like symptoms of withdrawal and help get people into addiction treatment programs, according to a 2019 report.

    Once paramedics administer naloxone to individuals who have overdosed, the withdrawal process is sped up and symptoms that are normally felt within a day come on almost immediately. For this reason, it is typical for these individuals to rush off to get another dose of drugs to relieve those symptoms of withdrawal.


  • America’s Drug Companies Prescribed 76 Billion Opioid Pills—1.5 Billion to NJ Alone

    Posted 7/24/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    America’s drug companies have distributed 76 billion opioid pills throughout the country from 2006 to 2012—1.5 billion of those pills flooded the state of New Jersey alone.

    A database managed by the Drug Enforcement Association (DEA), which oversees and tracks every single pain pill sold within the country, was recently made public.


    The Automation of Reports and Consolidated Order System or ARCOS database showed billions of prescription pills distributed over a seven-year period, igniting the fire that killed thousands of people in our country and home state.

    From 2006 to 2012, pill shipments soared throughout New Jersey, most of which were concentrated in South Jersey. If the number of pills distributed during this time period were divided evenly amongst every New Jersey resident, each person would have 170 pills, according to an article written by

    More than 6,000 people died in New Jersey during that seven-year period. With our death rate 67% higher than the national average, we can expect to continue to see deaths in the thousands.

  • Fifth Annual Don’t Get Hooked on Drugs NJ Family Fishing Tournament!

    Posted 7/17/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    This week we will be commencing our Fifth Annual Don’t Get Hooked on Drugs NJ Family Fishing Tournament!

    Every year during the summer months, we hold a fishing tournament that encourages New Jersey families to head outdoors and bond together over a fun filled day of fishing. It is important for parents and guardians to spend time quality time with their children, especially during the summertime when kids have more time on their hands and could potentially get into trouble.

    Research shows us that parents who often communicate with their children significantly decrease their chances of abusing substances. Our annual fishing tournament is the perfect opportunity for families to interact with their kids and open up those lines of communication in an effort to help keep them drug-free.

    The competition will take from July 19-28 and requires no entrance fee. Eligible candidates must be 18 years old or younger, New Jersey residents, and be accompanied by a parent or guardian while fishing.

    Participants can take a photo of their family enjoying a fishing trip and post it on our Facebook (Drug-FreeNJ), Instagram (@DrugFreeNJ), or Twitter (@DrugFreeNJ) pages with the hashtag #DrugFreeNJ. The picture must include the youth participant and a parent or guardian. Photo opportunities are also available upon request.


    All entries must be submitted no later than July 28. A total of $500 will be awarded to five randomly selected submissions on August 5.


    Happy fishing!

  • Benzos Becoming a Drug of Choice for Teens

    Posted 7/10/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    In an attempt to prevent adolescent substance abuse, it is crucial to stay up to date with the current drug trends among our youth. Research shows that benzodiazepines, commonly referred to as benzos, have become a popular drug of choice among teens and those in their twenties, and have contributed to a massive increase in overdose deaths.

    Benzodiazepines, such as Valium and Xanax, are often prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia, but teens and young adults have been using them recreationally.

    I recently met with reporter David Matthau to discuss how this trend is affecting today’s youth and contributing to a significant increase in the number of fatal overdoses.

  • Happy 4th of July!

    Posted 7/3/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Each year on July 4th, we come together as a nation to celebrate our country’s hard-fought freedom. It is a day to reflect on how far we have come as a country and to renew our appreciation for the rights and opportunities each of us are given here. Most importantly, we gather together in remembrance of all those who sacrificed their lives—and still do each day—so that the American people could obtain and keep their freedom.


    On behalf of myself, all staff members, and the Board of Trustees, we would like to give a special thanks to all of America’s veterans for their strength and bravery, and we wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

  • New Jersey Health Ranks Low on Suicide, Alcohol, and Smoking Death Rates - Not Opioids

    Posted 6/26/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    I recently read a few articles that discussed a report from the Commonwealth fund. The report measured the performance of state health systems looking at 47 different categories including; access and affordability, prevention and treatment, avoidable use and cost, and healthy lives. The results indicate that death rates from suicide, alcohol, and opioids are at an all-time high in the United States. Opioid overdoses and suicides, in particular, were the two driving factors for the decline in the average life expectancy rate.

    Some states proved to be more susceptible to certain issues. New Jersey, for example, scored highly in the healthy lives category; it ranked third lowest in suicide deaths, fourth lowest in alcohol deaths, and fifth lowest in adult-smoking deaths. Opioid death rates are a much more concerning statistic. The state ranked 39th in drug poisoning deaths.

    A countless number of people have lost their lives from opioid overdoses since the start of the epidemic, but the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and all its collaborators remain determined to save lives.

    Don’t forget that you also play a part in the solution. If you personally know someone with a substance use disorder, please contact ReachNJ: (609) 292-6000

  • TED Talk on Opioid Withdrawal and New Jersey Legislation

    Posted 6/19/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    I recently watched a TED talk about a man named Travis Rider’s experience of opioid withdrawal. For those of you who do not know, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less) called TED talks. They feature expert speakers who cover various topics, including education, business, science, and technology.

    In this particular TED talk, a man named Travis Rider opened up about his addiction and the agony of withdrawal. In his closing remarks he stated, 


    “Properly managing prescribed opioids will not by itself solve the crisis—America’s epidemic is far bigger than that—but when a medication is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths a year, reckless management of that medication is indefensible. Helping opioid therapy patients to get off of their medication that they were prescribed may not be a complete solution for our epidemic, but it will clearly constitute progress.”


    Travis’ story highlights just how crucial it is for doctors to further educate themselves on safe methods for prescribing opioids. It stresses the importance for prescribers to disclose the addiction potential of opioids and to provide their patients with non-opioid alternatives, if and when they are available.

  • Pick Up Free Naloxone on June 18th

    Posted 6/12/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    More than 3,000 people in New Jersey died of a drug overdose in 2018. That number would have been much higher if law enforcement and emergency medical services did not administer naloxone more than 16,000 times throughout the state last year.


    Naloxone can reverse opioid overdoses by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain. It has been an invaluable tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic.


    Governor Phil Murphy announced last week that on June 18, New Jersey residents will be able to walk in to participating pharmacies throughout the state and obtain naloxone for free and without a prescription or an appointment. Click HERE for a list of participating pharmacies.

  • Opioid Warning Label Bill Passed by New Jersey General Assembly

    Posted 6/5/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Last month, the New Jersey General Assembly unanimously passed a bill that would require all prescription opioid medications to have a warning sticker advising patients of the risks of addiction and overdose. The bill had previously passed the State Senate, also unanimously, back in March.


    If the bill is signed by Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey would be the first state to adopt a permanent law requiring such warning labels.


    This legislation would be another positive step in helping to educate New Jersey residents about the potential for dependency and addiction to opioids.


    While prescribers are required to have a conversation with their patients about these risks before prescribing an opioid – thanks to legislation enacted in 2017 -- adding another layer of information will help patients make safer and healthier decisions.

  • New Jersey Law Enforcement Community Unites to Discuss Opioid Epidemic

    Posted 5/31/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    On Thursday in Atlantic City, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey held the New Jersey Law Enforcement Training: On the Front Lines of the Opioid Epidemic conference, the first ever statewide law enforcement event to unite federal, state, county and local law enforcement officials to discuss the opioid epidemic ravaging the state.

    The conference was a resounding success, as more than 200 attendees, including representatives from more than 60 state, county and local law enforcement agencies, received important updates on the crisis and their role in addressing it.

    New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who delivered the keynote address, announced for the first time publicly that his office has filed a lawsuit against eight members of the Sackler family, founders of oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma. He also outlined the progress being made in the fight against the opioid epidemic. 

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