School and Prevention Education Are Back in Session

It’s hard to believe that summer has once again flown by, but it’s exciting to think about the new opportunities and special moments that lie ahead in the upcoming school year.

Students will be learning new things, making new friends and continuing to grow, and it’s important that their education includes prevention and living a healthy lifestyle free of drugs.

A recent study found that teenagers who smoke and drink have visible damage to their arteries by the age of 17. That is just one of the many physical and emotional effects of drug and alcohol use on youth, making it crucial that children are equipped with this prevention education from an early age.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey offers several programs that can help.

PDFNJ is currently inviting fourth grade students to submit artwork for the 2018-19 Fun Things To Do Instead of Drugs Folder contest. Several thousand students entered last year’s Fourth Grade Folder Contest, submitting artistic prevention messages that displayed their creativity. The two winners chosen this past spring will have their work displayed on folders being distributed to fourth grade classes throughout the state for the 2018-19 school year. A limited number of folders are still available. Click HERE to request folders for your students.

PDFNJ offers another program for younger students, the Third Grade Contract for a Healthy Life. These activity books stress the importance of drug-free and healthy living. To request activity books for your students, click HERE.

Middle school students are invited to create a script for a 30-second public service announcement with a peer-to-peer substance abuse prevention message. The winning script will be filmed, starring the students who wrote it at their school. More details will be available this fall.

PDFNJ’s efforts in schools would not be complete without the New Jersey Shout Down Drugs high school music competition. For the past 14 years, talented students from all over New Jersey have written original songs focusing on prevention, culminating in the annual Prevention Concert. At the end of a night filled with great performances and inspiring messages, three winners are chosen to continue to spread their message in performances during the following year. Click HERE for more information on the program.

Although many of the adults reading this have been out of school for a long time, it is vital that parents and guardians stay informed on prevention.

Sign up today for the 15 Minute Child Break and the 5th Grade Parent Alert. Both are aimed at parents, providing them vital facts and resources for helping them to keep their children healthy and drug-free.

As the opioid misuse and abuse epidemic continues to impact our state, I also encourage students, parents, school officials and any other citizen to join the efforts to tackle the opioid epidemic on Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day on October 6.

I wish you all a great school year!

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