• Parents Need to Be Informed About Opioid Alternatives

    Posted 2/14/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Happy Valentine’s Day!


    The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has worked tirelessly over the past decade to help residents of New Jersey and the entire country understand the risks of prescription opioids.


    A recent column in the New York Times helps to inform parents on how they can best protect their children by speaking to their prescriber about possible non-opioid alternatives as well as the addictive nature of opioid painkillers.


    The story cited a survey of parents by the American Society of Anesthesiologists. More than half of the respondents worried about opioid addiction, but nearly two-thirds believed opioids were the best option to treat a child’s pain after a fracture or an operation.


    In New Jersey, doctors, dentists and other prescribers are legally required to have a conversation about non-opioid alternatives and the addictive qualities of opioids with patients or their patients’ parents prior to prescribing an opioid. However, all parents should be prepared to ask prescribers for more information on safer options available to manage their child’s pain.

  • How Have You Been Affected by the Opioid Epidemic? Tell PDFNJ Your Story

    Posted 2/6/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    The opioid epidemic has affected people of all backgrounds from every community in New Jersey. No one is immune.


    However, the stigma of addiction remains a barrier in addressing the opioid crisis.


    It is important for people affected by the opioid crisis to share their stories, as a means of breaking down the stigma of addiction and giving this issue the attention it requires.


    Whether you have struggled with opioid addiction or you know a family member or friend who has experienced it, we want to hear your story and share it with New Jersey residents during the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Series being held in all 21 New Jersey counties in 2019 and 2020.


    The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey will be holding a photo shoot from 3-7 p.m. Monday, February 11 at Hope Sheds Light, 253 Chestnut St., Toms River, NJ 08753. PDFNJ will use these photos and stories as part of the town hall series to put a face to the opioid epidemic and to help to break down the stigma of addiction.   


    If you are interested in participating or have any questions, email Matt Birchenough at Help break the stigma to help Knock Out Opioid Abuse.

  • Safer Prescribing of Opioids for Pediatric Dentists

    Posted 1/30/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    How often are kids approached by their peers, friends and even siblings to try drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and other substances?  And at what age does this pressure for substance use begin?


    Studies show by the time they are seniors, almost 70 percent of high school students will have tried alcohol, half will have taken an illegal drug, nearly 40 percent will have smoked a cigarette, and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a non-medical purpose.


    Parents should be aware that the source leading to substance misuse can come from unexpected places, like your dentist’s office.


    Nearly 6 percent of people ages 16 to 25 who received an initial opioid prescription in 2015 from dentists were diagnosed with opioid abuse within a year, according to a 2018 study from Stanford University School of Medicine.


    It’s important to give parents the information to protect their children from the risks of opioids and provide doctors information to prescribe responsibly to young children and adults.  


    Tonight the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey will be hosting a Do No Harm Symposium, along with the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, the Drug Enforcement Administration – New Jersey Division and the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, to discuss the links between prescription opioids and heroin use and the steps needed for the New Jersey medical community to utilize safer prescribing methods.

  • Physical Therapy Can Offer a Non-Pharmacological Alternative to Opioid Medication

    Posted 1/23/2019 by Super Admin

    In 2017, the New Jersey state legislature passed the Patient Notification Law, which featured several provisions that helped protect patients from the risks of prescription opioids, including a requirement for prescribers to discuss alternative non-opioid treatments.


    By encouraging other types of treatment, prescribers could keep patients opioid-naïve and prevent the potential for addiction.


    This week I invited Lisa Chamberlain, chair of the American Physical Therapy Association of New Jersey, to discuss physical therapy as a treatment for pain.


    By Lisa Chamberlain, PT, DPT, ATC

    Many people ask, what are non-opioid options to manage pain?  Who can my doctor partner with to help me or a family member wean off opioid medication? 


    In many cases, a physical therapist (PT) is the right healthcare professional to meet those needs. In 2017, the state of New Jersey passed the Patient Notification Act, which gave new guidelines that included how physical therapy should be discussed with patients as an alternative treatment approach to manage pain.  This should be considered by physicians as they enter into a “Pain Management Agreement” with the patient, which is now required prior to prescribing an opioid medication for more than 10 days in New Jersey.


    Of course, the best-case scenario would be to never prescribe an opioid to manage pain. A physical therapist can perform an evaluation and develop a detailed treatment plan that focuses on why you feel pain. Whether an individual’s pain is related to major surgery, such as a joint replacement or longstanding low back pain that has been debilitating, a physical therapist can help.

  • New Jersey Youth Can Spread Vital Prevention Messages

    Posted 1/15/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    A new report from the National Safety Council reveals that, for the first time in history, Americans are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than in a motor vehicle accident.


    This startling statistic once again shows the dire need to educate youth about the dangers of drug use and spread awareness throughout the nation.


    New Jersey teenagers will have the opportunity to step up and spread vitally important prevention messages this spring as part of the New Jersey Shout Down Drugs high school music competition.


    Since the program’s inception in 2005, New Jersey Shout Down Drugs has challenged high school students to create original music with lyrics that contain powerful peer-to-peer substance use prevention messages. The deadline for New Jersey high school students to submit their original songs is Friday, February 1.


    Judges will select a finalist from every county as well as wild card finalists to compete in the Annual Prevention Concert, which will be held at Rutgers University’s Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater on Friday, May 10th. Three winners of the competition will be announced at the end of the concert. First place will receive a $5,000 music contract with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. Second-place will receive a $3,000 contract and the third-place finisher will earn a $2,000 contract.


    Each year of this program has produced many memorable songs and prevention messages, and I’m excited to see what this year’s participants have in store.

  • Advocate & Inspire Others

    Posted 1/9/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    This week I turn over the blog to Donna DeStefano, a New Jersey parent who has been a tremendous advocate for prevention, treatment and recovery in response to her daughter’s journey to recovery. For the past few years, Donna has been leading an effort to earn legislative approval for “Support Recovery” license plates that New Jersey residents can purchase with the proceeds going to recovery resources. Donna has worked tirelessly to move this effort forward and has been a great partner of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.


    By Donna DeStefano


    The other day I was preparing for a presentation that I really was looking forward to at the Mercer Council Prevention Coalition meeting.


    As a former Director for the Prevention Coalition of Monmouth County through Prevention First, I know how hard the staff works to engage their members, who are all volunteers. They come from all different sectors of the community, including faith-based, law enforcement, education, parents, providers of mental health, treatment and prevention and anyone else who has a passion or interest in drug prevention.


    As I gathered my materials and talking points, I knew that I would talk about my family’s story and how we coped with the struggles of my daughter’s heroin addiction and recovery, but I also wanted to talk about the importance of advocacy.


    We all know that as a group we can accomplish a lot. Just like they say, the word team stands for “Together Everyone Achieves More.” What we don’t sometimes realize is that even one person can make a difference. It can come from a simple idea, but the problem with most ideas is that they require action. You might not know exactly where to start or how to implement the idea, so it sometimes just remains an idea. That is so sad!

  • Vaping an Epidemic Among Youth

    Posted 1/2/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    A recent report shows that vaping by high school students is on the rise, which has led United States Surgeon General Jerome V. Adams to declare vaping among youth an epidemic.


    Results from the 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey found that 37.3 percent of 12th grade students reported taking part in “any vaping” during the previous 12 months, an increase from 27.8 percent in 2017.


    High school seniors’ reported use of vaping nicotine during the 30-day period prior to the survey also rose significantly, nearly doubling from 11 percent in 2017 to 20.9 percent in 2018. Reports of vaping marijuana by high school seniors during the previous year increased to 13.1 percent from 9.5 percent in 2017.


    The problem also exists among younger children. More than 10% of eighth graders said they vaped nicotine in the past year.


    As the surgeon general emphasized, it is vital that parents and teachers are aware of this issue and be aware of the harm that vaping poses, especially to youth.


    Because of the deceptive nature of vaping devices, which are small and can look like everyday items such as pens or USB flash drives, it is crucial that parents and teachers are aware of what vaping devices look like and are educated on the signs of vaping.


    The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey offers the 15 Minute Child Break, a free education program for parents and other adults that focuses on the trends and effects of substance use, as well as effective ways to discuss those issues with children.


    The Partnership has added information on vaping to the multimedia presentation, which usually lasts about one hour. You can also find out more about vaping on PDFNJ’s homepage or by clicking here.

  • Happy Holidays!

    Posted 12/26/2018 by Angelo M. Valente

    On behalf of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey team, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season.

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

    Posted 12/18/2018 by Angelo M. Valente

    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.

  • Study Shows Link Between Dentist-Prescribed Opioids and Opioid Abuse

    Posted 12/12/2018 by Angelo M. Valente

    A new study released last week found that opioids prescribed by dentists have led to a significant increase in the number of young people who have misused opioids.


    The study, conducted by researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California, found that nearly 6 percent of a sample size of almost 15,000 people ages 16 to 25, who received initial opioid prescriptions in 2015, had been diagnosed with opioid abuse within a year. Just 0.4 percent of people from a similar group who had not received opioids were diagnosed with opioid abuse during the same timeframe.


    These numbers are troubling and confirm the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s concern about the overprescribing of opioids. Millions of wisdom tooth extractions are performed every year, meaning that a large number of teens and young adults could be exposed to opioids for the first time.


    Compounding the tragedy behind these figures is that such cases are almost entirely preventable. A study has found that non-opioid pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be more effective in treating dental pain.


    The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has worked to inform dentists on safer prescribing practices through the Do No Harm Symposium Series, which has been held throughout the state with the Drug Enforcement Administration ­– New Jersey Division and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program and the New Jersey Dental Association since 2013.


    While progress has been made in limiting prescription opioids, this study shows why steps to reduce initiation of opioid use are so necessary. The Partnership is determined to continue working with doctors and dentists to help keep them informed on prescribing guidelines and protect the health and safety of New Jersey’s residents.

Blog Updates

Enter your email address and we'll send you an email each time we post something new.