Mercer Council, The Prevention Coalition of Mercer County and PDFNJ Produce Important Parent PSA on Teen Brain Development

A recent study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and Fairleigh Dickinson University found that 7 in 10 New Jersey parents of children 18 years or younger believe there is a link between prescription opioids and heroin. That figure is an encouraging sign that more parents understand the dangers of prescription opioids and are informed and prepared to make the best decisions for the health and safety of their children. However, it is vital that we continue to share this message, especially for the 30 percent of parents who are still unaware of the risks. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey helped support the Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction and The Prevention Coalition of Mercer County to produce a short public service announcement on the issue, and I’ve invited Barbara Sprechman of the Mercer Council to tell you more about it in this week’s blog.


By Barbara Sprechman, Assistant Executive Director, Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction


Research studies have shown that the human brain is not fully developed until some point in our mid-twenties. Prevention science teaches us that delaying the first use of any substance until at least the age of 19 can significantly decrease the chances of having a substance use disorder in our lifetime. 

These messages are important for everyone to know; however, it is particularly difficult to get this vital information through to parents. As a prevention educator, I know getting in front of a group of parents can be challenging — everyone's schedule is busy, and parents are a difficult audience to pin down. 

That is why we created a public service announcement to be played in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices, pediatric dental practices, pediatricians and other healthcare providers. While parents are waiting for their child to be seen by a health practitioner, there is often a television monitor in the waiting room. What a great opportunity to educate them on the development of the teen brain!   

Through our collaboration with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, we are excited to roll out this PSA throughout the state! Please help us promote it by asking your doctor and dentist to link it to his/her office waiting room! Knowledge is power, and it’s also good prevention!

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