• Recipe for a Happy New Year

    Posted 1/1/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    Take twelve whole months.

    Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness,
    hate, and jealousy.

    Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.

    Now cut each month into twenty-eight, thirty, or
    thirty-one different parts,
    but don’t make up the whole batch at once.

  • Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

    Posted 12/25/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

  • The Power of Music

    Posted 12/18/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Did you know that music has the power to produce a similar euphoric effect in the brain as drugs? When a person experiences the sound of music it results in a release of dopamine, but at a natural rate. Studies show that music can also improve brain function, increase productivity, strengthen memory and learning, and equalize brain waves. It is because of these reasons that therapists use music in recovery treatment in order to familiarize the body with the feeling of a natural rush. 


    Music is also a helpful tool that can be used for substance use prevention, which is why PDFNJ created the New Jersey Shout Down Drugs music competition for New Jersey high school students. 

  • Underage Drinking

    Posted 12/11/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    According to the Mayo Clinic, some children begin experimenting with alcohol or feeling pressure to drink during early adolescence, so it is important to begin having conversations about alcohol with your children at a young age.

    This holiday season serves as the perfect opportunity to have these conversations, as families will be all together and, most likely, alcohol will be present.


    I encourage you to use this time of the year to talk with your children about the dangers of underage drinking and the importance of making healthy decisions. If you are unsure about how to approach the conversation, you can use the following suggestions offered by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Treatment Facilities for NJ Teens With Substance Use Disorder Disappearing

    Posted 12/3/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Residential treatment centers for teenagers battling with substance use have disappeared across New Jersey. Daytop Village in Mendham is one of the two remaining in-patient treatment programs available for teens, but it might not be available much longer.


    In a recent article, James P. Curtin, president and chief executive officer of Daytop New Jersey, said the residential adolescent program will most likely close by the end of the year. He said that the issues with adolescent residential facilities began in 2014 when the state decided to move adolescent treatment programs to the N.J. Department of Children and Families, and there was widespread belief that keeping children with substance use problems in their homes rather than in institutions, such as Daytop, were sufficient. But as Curtin explains, there are some young adults whose drug use is too bad to treat at home and are in need of in-patient treatment.

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

    Posted 11/27/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    As we enter the holiday season, I would like to take a moment to say thank you to all those who support the mission of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. 

    It is through each of your collaborative efforts and support that we are able to make strides in stemming the tides of addiction and knocking out opioid abuse in New Jersey.

    On behalf of the team here at PDFNJ, I thank you and wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by friends and family.

  • New Research on Vaping

    Posted 11/19/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Since the recent outbreak of vaping-related illnesses in the country, doctors and scientists have been conducting studies to understand the effects and possible health risks linked to e-cigarette use.


    New research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA shows vaping may be worse for heart health than tobacco cigarettes, despite the common belief that e-cigarettes are the safer alternative. The study compared the hearts of 10 non-smokers to the hearts of 10 tobacco smokers and 10 e-cigarette smokers after mild exercise. According to Dr. Florian Rader, coauthor of the study and a heart specialist at Cedars-Sinai’s Smidt Heart Institute, the results suggest that “e-cigarettes cause an abnormality that impedes blood flow regulation in the heart.”


    This was one of the first studies on the heart-health effects of vaping that found a connection between vaping and an increased risk of heart attack, but it is certainly not the first study that links e-cigarette use to serious health risks. This is especially concerning, considering e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among both middle and high school students, many of which believe that vaping is harmless.

  • Prevention Through Arts

    Posted 11/13/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Every year, thousands of families travel across the county to see some of America’s most amazing aircrafts at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) events. There is one plane in particular that flies in to the events on an important mission to raise awareness about the adolescent brain’s high vulnerability to Substance Use Disorder (SUD).


    SafeLaunch Flights About Addiction’s all-white Cessna 182, “DJ”, is the only plane in the world that welcomes kids to paint its exterior to help prevent adolescent substance use. DJ recently had its 43rd mission at the AOPA Fly-In in Livermore, California, where children painted colorful artwork on the plane after pledging not use any alcohol, tobacco or any other drug until they are at least 21.


    SafeLaunch’s painting activity allows kids to have fun while also learning about the dangers of adolescent substance use. Research shows that creative arts are helpful tools for substance use prevention and treatment, which is why PDFNJ offers a variety of free artistic school-based programs for students in third grade through high school.

  • A New Report: Physician Perspectives and Insights on the Evolving Drug Crisis in America

    Posted 11/6/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    In a first-of-its kind survey included in a new report by Quest Diagnostics, 500 U.S. primary care physicians were asked questions about prescribing controlled substances, such as opioids, amphetamines and benzodiazepines to their patients. The survey found that 72% of primary care physicians trusted their patients to take their controlled medications as prescribed when in fact 51% of patients who were prescribed opioids or other controlled medications showed signs of misuse, including drug mixing.


    The report findings underline the need to continue to educate prescribers about safe-prescribing methods and to encourage patients to ask questions about proper use and disposal of any unwanted, expired or unused medication to prevent access to these highly addictive substances.

  • Marijuana - A More Commonly Used Teen Drug Than Tobacco

    Posted 10/30/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    A study from the University of Nebraska’s College of Public Health concluded that there are more teens using marijuana and alcohol than there are teens smoking cigarettes.

    Researchers looked at marijuana, alcohol, and cigarette use among U.S. teens from 1991 to 2017 and found that the number of teens who said they used marijuana at least once over the past month rose 10-fold, from 0.6% in 1991 to 6.3% in 2017, according to HealthDay reports. The report also states that teens who said they used marijuana and alcohol combined almost doubled, from 3.6% to 7.6%.


    During that same time period, high school students who smoked cigarettes dropped from 4.4% to 1.3%.

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