• Operation Prevention Provides Valuable Drug-Free Education Resources

    Posted 7/6/2017 by Angelo M. Valente

    We are pleased to share this week’s blog with Joanna Mlicka-Anderko, Demand Reduction Coordinator for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Jersey Division and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Discovery Education have joined forces to combat the growing epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and heroin use nationwide. Operation Prevention’s mission is to educate students about the true impacts of opioids and kick-start lifesaving conversations in the home and classroom. The initiative offers the following expanded collection of no-cost resources for elementary, middle and high school students, teachers and parents:

    • Digital Classroom Lessons

    Classroom-ready interactive lessons aligned to national health and science standards

    • Parent Toolkit

    Family discussion guide, which provides information on the warning signs of opioid misuse and a guide to prevention and intervention

    • Video Challenge

    Encourages students to send a message to their peers about the dangers of prescription opioid misuse by creating a 30-to-60-second original Public Service Announcement for a chance to win a scholarship

    • On Demand Virtual Field Trip

    Leading experts, including DEA agents and pharmacologists, provide facts on drugs and addiction

    All materials are online at in English and Spanish and are updated every year for content. For more information, please contact Demand Reduction Specialist Joanna Anderko at

  • New Jersey Joins Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers

    Posted 6/29/2017 by Angelo M. Valente

    States across the country have begun examining the degree of blame that should be placed on drug manufacturers for the opioid epidemic gripping the nation.


    On the heels of a lawsuit brought by Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine against five pharmaceutical companies, a group of attorneys general from several states in mid-June launched an inquiry into the marketing of pain medications and whether it fueled the opioid crisis, which has been at epidemic levels for the past five years.


    In 2015, opioids took the lives of more than 33,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death toll in New Jersey for 2015 was 1,600, or four times the number of people murdered in the state that year.


    New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino recently said that he will take part in the inquiry, joining his colleagues from states including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Vermont. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery has taken the lead role in the investigation. 


    PDFNJ continues to play a crucial role in fighting the opioid crisis, most notably by launching its Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Series this spring. We also have enlisted Dr. Andrew Kolodny, director of Physicians for Responsible Opiate Prescribing (PROP), to speak out on the problem. Dr. Kolodny recently appeared in an interview segment on the PBS program “Democracy Now!” and was critical of both the current and previous political administrations for doing little to combat the crisis.

  • Welcome Summer!

    Posted 6/22/2017 by Angelo M. Valente

    Summer has arrived! Summer is my favorite season, as the warm weather brings with it the opportunity to relax, take time for activities and enjoy added time with family and friends. PDFNJ research shows that kids who communicate regularly with their parents about their daily activities are 67% less likely to be involved in substance abuse. Throughout the summer, PDFNJ continues to offer a variety of resources for families to utilize.


    Parents can find out additional information on current trends at TalkNowNJ.Com, or take an interactive quiz to test their knowledge on the impact of underage drinking and the opioid abuse crisis at ParentCheckNJ.Com. We will also host a series of webinars on all of these topics:


    Date                                    Time

    • Tuesday, 6/27/17             11:30 AM
    • Tuesday, 6/27/17             1:00 PM
    • Wednesday, 6/28/17       11:30 AM
    • Wednesday, 6/28/17       1:00 PM 

    All webinars are open to the public to participate in by registering here.


    Wishing you a wonderful summer season! 

  • Governor Christie Speaks at PDFNJ's Do No Harm Symposium

    Posted 6/14/2017 by Angelo M. Valente

    The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, Monday, held the 20th Do No Harm Safer Prescribing Symposium, a program of PDFNJ, DEA-NJ, and HIDTA. Prosecutor Fredric Knapp and the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris, along with Morris County Sheriff James Gannon coordinated this program with PDFNJ to educate prescribers in the county, both at Saint Clare’s Health System and Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center.


    Governor Chris Christie, who has made the opioid epidemic a priority for his administration, provided a keynote address to attendees about the importance of safer prescribing, prevention, and treatment, as well as strategies to address this epidemic and support those in recovery. Working together is the only way we are going to make inroads in reducing the numbers afflicted by this epidemic.


    I thank all of those who attended, our partners on this program, and Governor Christie for his leadership on this issue. 


    Video of Governor Christie's speech and photos available by clicking read more.

  • To Defeat Opioid Addiction, N.J. Doctors Must Stop Over-Prescribing

    Posted 6/7/2017 by Angelo M. Valente

    Elaine Pozycki, PDFNJ Chair, is dedicated to raising awareness on the links between prescribed opioids and heroin abuse rates. Her letter to the editor in today's Star Ledger focuses on the newest legislation passed to bring safer prescribing to New Jersey and the nation. PDFNJ will host a safer prescribing Do No Harm symposium on Monday, June 12th, and I invite anyone who is interested in learning  more on this topic to register to attend here.

  • Horizon is Opening the Conversation and Finding Solutions to the Opioid Crisis

    Posted 5/30/2017 by Angelo M. Valente

    Over the past month, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey have teamed up to start the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall series that will make its way throughout the state over the next year and a half. It’s not too late to join the conversation on opioid abuse tomorrow in Bergen County. Click here to register.


    We are pleased to share this week’s blog with Jonathan Pearson, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Executive Director of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, who has provided an overview of the first three town halls in the series.

  • Marijuana Research Points to Concerns on Adolescent Brain Development

    Posted 5/17/2017 by Angelo M. Valente

    Marijuana legalization, now found in seven states and in Washington, D.C., has added sizably to the challenge of drug prevention. According to the most recent Monitoring the Future Survey, an annual study of youth drug use and other at-risk behaviors, fewer than 40% of teens consider marijuana use to be risky.


    In the online publication “Science News for Students,” Christopher Hammond, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., noted how Colorado’s legalization and its accompanying advertising campaign have enticed more youth there to try marijuana and that some of them are now regular users. He said, “When you start to use it regularly as a teenager, it has harmful consequences.” Several studies have shown brain changes in regular teen users of pot, including reduced brain volume in areas of the brain that  process information.


    Yet another authority on the subject is Dr. Ellen Rome, head of the Center for Adolescent Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. She cited the long-lasting ill-effects of marijuana use on the structure and function of still developing brains: “Marijuana use affects the healthy formation of the prefrontal cortex and can interfere with the brain’s ability to transfer information from short term to long term memory.”


    PDFNJ encourages New Jersey legislators to familiarize themselves with the considerable body of research on how marijuana impacts the developing brain of adolescents, and how legalization of marijuana impacts the attitudes and behaviors of adolescents.

  • is Reaching New Jersey

    Posted 5/10/2017 by Angelo M. Valente

    Several months ago Governor Christie and the State of New Jersey introduced - a comprehensive website to raise awareness about opioids and explore treatment and recovery options. Since its inception, a multimedia campaign has been airing on TV, radio, and social media. The metrics of this effort were released yesterday and they once again demonstrate just how vast the number is of our neighbors and friends throughout NJ that are directly impacted by the prescription drug and heroin epidemic. PDFNJ understands the significant role of prevention and awareness and will continue to educate NJ families and children. The focus of this effort is understanding the link between prescription drug dependency and heroin addiction.


    If you, a family member, or someone else you care about has an opioid or heroin dependency, I encourage you to visit and utilize the resources available right here in NJ.

  • Governor Christie Lauds Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s Efforts to Combat Opioid Epidemic

    Posted 4/26/2017 by Angelo M. Valente

    Governor Chris Christie praised the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) for its leadership in the state and country in the fight against the opioid crisis, during a press conference today on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day being held Saturday, April 29.


    “The work of the Partnership is really groundbreaking, and now the rest of the country is catching up to what they’ve been doing,” Christie said Wednesday at the Toms River Police Department.


    PDFNJ, along with the DEA of New Jersey, the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General, and several local law enforcement agencies, helped spearhead the first statewide day of disposal in the nation 10 years ago, when 25,000 New Jersey residents took advantage of the event to dispose of unused medicines.


    Because of this unprecedented success, the program - called at that time “Operation Medicine Cabinet” - was recognized as a best practice by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The Drug Enforcement Administration replicated the New Jersey initiative throughout the country and created the National Take Back Day we are recognizing this Saturday throughout the country.


    The event provides an important reminder of the potential hazards associated with prescription medications. Residents can participate this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. by locating a collection site here and discarding expired, unwanted, or unused medications. The program is free and anonymous, with no questions asked. 

  • Fentanyl is the Deadliest Opioid You Haven't Heard About

    Posted 4/19/2017 by Angelo M. Valente

    The opioid crisis and its hundreds of thousands of deaths have made drug abuse front-page news. It was a central issue in last year’s presidential primary season. This is unlike any drug crisis in our history. People have long known about heroin, and lately prescription pain medications like OxyContin have crept into the public consciousness.


    Recently, one variety of synthetic opioid not widely known has emerged as the most lethal narcotic of the bunch: fentanyl. To address fentanyl and other issues regarding the opioid epidemic in NJ, we hope you will join a PDFNJ/Horizon Foundation for New Jersey Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall in your area by clicking here.


    Fentanyl’s potency is 50 times that of heroin - which it’s sometimes mixed with.  Adding it to heroin creates a deadly mix that is tempting to people addicted to other opioids; until it causes an overdose that takes them to death’s door and, all too often, ushers them through it.

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