• Guest Blog: NADDI is a Valuable Resource as the Opioid Epidemic is Surging

    Posted 6/1/2022 by Angelo M. Valente

    This week’s guest blogger, Patricia Richardson, is the National Corresponding Secretary of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI). NADDI is a national training organization working to educate professionals involved in the field of pharmaceutical drug diversion. Patricia is also a commissioned Law Enforcement Officer with the MEDWAY Drug Enforcement Agency in Wayne County, Ohio – one of the oldest drug task forces in the state of Ohio. 

  • Happy Memorial Day

    Posted 5/24/2022 by Angelo M. Valente

    Memorial Day is this coming Monday. I want to take a moment and honor those who have served or are actively serving our country today. We celebrate this long weekend because of the commitment to liberty & democracy made possible by the sacrifices of our armed services.


    May their bravery forever be remembered.

  • When It Comes to Substance Use Prevention – Communication is Key

    Posted 5/18/2022 by Angelo M. Valente

    I wanted to share a recent New York Times article, which discusses the deteriorating state of the mental health of today’s youth. I covered this topic in a blog post a few weeks ago. It is both sad and alarming that teens and adolescents are at a crisis point, which if not properly addressed, could lead to a substance use crisis as well.


    I wrote a Letter to the Editor for the Star Ledger that further expresses my sentiments.

  • Tune In to PDFNJ’s 2022 Prevention Concert

    Posted 5/11/2022 by Angelo M. Valente

    Tomorrow, May 12, is the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s (PDFNJ) Prevention Concert for the Your Song! Your Voice! Shout Down Drugs New Jersey music competition. The competition is designed to challenge New Jersey high school students to create original music and lyrics with powerful peer-to-peer substance use prevention messages.

  • We Must Focus on Mental Health Among Today’s Youth

    Posted 5/4/2022 by Angelo M. Valente

    On July 16, 988 will become the nationwide 3-digit dialing code for mental health crisis and suicide prevention. It will replace the 1-800 number currently used by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. When someone calls 988 in the United States, it will connect with the mental health crisis/suicide prevention system designed specifically for someone struggling with a mental health issue.   

  • Adolescent Use of Marijuana Can Have Long-Term Effects

    Posted 4/27/2022 by Angelo M. Valente

    Last week, New Jersey began the sale of cannabis for recreational use, a decision that will affect how today’s youth perceive the substance. As our state embarks on this new path, I think it is important to have discussions with our children about the dangers marijuana use can pose to the developing brain.


    In 2018, approximately 192 million people worldwide between the ages of 15 and 64 used cannabis recreationally. Young adults ages 18 to 25 accounted for 35 percent of that total, indicating that a significant number of users are adolescents and young adults whose brains are still in development.

  • Safeguard Your Home for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

    Posted 4/20/2022 by Angelo M. Valente

    Drug overdoses and drug overdose-related deaths are up over last year, with 3,124 drug overdose deaths reported in New Jersey in 2021.  A majority of these deaths involved some form of an opioid.  As the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is on April 30th,  I wanted to remind you to take stock of your medicine cabinet and safely dispose of any unused or expired medication. 

  • We Must Raise Awareness About the Dangers of Fentanyl

    Posted 4/13/2022 by Angelo M. Valente

    According to the CDC, ingesting just 0.002 grams of fentanyl results in certain death. In 2021, 3,124 people in New Jersey died from a drug overdose with the majority involving some form of an opioid, such as fentanyl. Overdose deaths linked to fentanyl were the leading cause of drug-related deaths in New Jersey for 2018 and 2019. The state has not yet released the data on 2020 and 2021, but the results are expected to be similar.

  • April is Alcohol Awareness Month

    Posted 4/6/2022 by Angelo M. Valente

    A new study has found that alcohol-related deaths in the United States climbed nearly 26 percent in 2020, which is the largest year-over-year increase in decades. The researchers found that the largest increase, about 38 percent, occurred among people ages 25 to 44.

    Sadly, we are just now understanding what effects the pandemic has had on substance use disorder. April is National Alcohol Awareness month, and it is important that we speak to today’s young people and raise awareness about the dangers of underage alcohol consumption and excessive consumption among adults.

  • The Opioid Epidemic’s Impact on Race

    Posted 3/30/2022 by Angelo M. Valente

    A recent article on detailed that in New Jersey, Black residents accounted for 25 percent of the overdose deaths last year through October, a significant increase from 12 percent in 2015. Through March 13 of this year, the Black population accounts for 28 percent of suspected overdose-related deaths.

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