NJ Parents See Home as Access Point for Alcohol/Prescription/OTC Drugs by Children


Press Release: For Immediate Release: June 13, 2012

Contact: Angela Conover, PDFNJ, 201-916-1030, conover@drugfreenj.org


Statewide Study: NJ Parents See Their Own Home as Access Point for Both Alcohol and Prescription/OTC

Drugs by Children

New Jersey Parents Recognize Widespread Abuse of Prescription Drugs by Middle School Students and are Empowered by PSAs they Hear and See

Four in ten (39%) parents have taken an inventory of their prescription and OTC medicine in the past two months, with the majority (60%) not having done so.

ATLANTIC CITY – New Statewide Survey results released, today, by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey found that about eight in ten parents feel that kids get prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of medicine cabinets, either from their own home medicine cabinet (68%) or from a friend’s medicine cabinet (11%).



The PDFNJ annual Tracking Study of Parent Attitude and Behavior in Alcohol and Drug Abuse, found New Jersey parents estimate that approximately three in ten middle school students are abusing prescription or over-the-counter drugs (26%).

Parents Are Taking Steps to Limit Their Child’s Exposure to Unused, Unwanted, and Expired Medicine.

  • Four in ten (39%) parents have taken an inventory of their prescription and OTC medicine in the past two months, with the majority (60%) not having done so.  
  • Just about one in five (17%) of parents say they have disposed of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine at a local disposal site
  • Two in five parents (44%) have disposed of their unused, unwanted and expired medicine in their household trash.
  • One in four (23%) have flushed unwanted/expired medicine down a sink or drain.
  • 9% lock their medicine cabinet.

These findings are consistent with the message of the PDFNJ’s American Medicine Chest Challenge, a statewide public health media campaign designed to raise awareness of prescription drug abuse and the steps necessary to prevent it within their home.

The study finds that the number of New Jersey parents who report having expired medicines in their home has dropped from 42% to 35%, suggesting perhaps that the campaign to safely disposed of unused, unwanted or expired medicine in home has had some effect.

“While PDFNJ is encouraged by the number of parents who are taking steps to help protect their families, we are still very concerned that the majority of New Jersey families have yet to initiate the steps to help safeguard their homes,” said Angelo M. Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

Medicine Cabinets Are Not the Only Cabinets that are Being Locked in the Home

  • Most New Jersey parents, 82% never allow their 12-15 year old children drink alcohol in their homes.
  • When it comes to getting alcohol, a majority of parents believe kids are getting alcohol at home (54% up nine points from 45% in 2011).
  • Four in 10 (40%) parents say they have had instances of alcohol or drug abuse in their own family in the past year.  After a drop in 2011, this returns to the 41% who said the same in 2010.
  • Over eight in ten parents who have had an instance of alcohol or drug abuse in their family continue to discuss these incidents with their children (84%).  

Alcohol, including beer, wine, and hard liquor, is the drug used most often by adolescents, according to the 2010 New Jersey Middle School Risk & Protective Factor Survey by the New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Office of Addiction Services (DMHAS). The DHMAS study found, among New Jersey middle school students, 27.0% of 7th and 8th graders reported having used alcohol at some time in their lives. The lifetime rate for New Jersey 8th graders was higher than for 7th graders (34.2% and 19.7%, respectively). The DHMAS study also noted Prescription drug use without a prescription was the third most frequently used substance among NJ middle school students, following tobacco.

Public Service Campaigns Continue to Positively Influence New Jersey

  • Seven in ten parents (70%) say the ads encouraged them to talk to their children about using drugs or alcohol.  However, this represents the lowest level since 2006.  Six in ten say the ads made them more aware of the risks of using drugs and alcohol
  • More than four in ten (45%) parents feel that the anti-drug ads have given them new information or told them things they didn’t know about drugs or alcohol. 
  • Importantly, the more frequent the exposure to anti-drug ads, the greater the likelihood that a parent was: encouraged to talk to their children about the risk of using drugs and alcohol (79% who see anti-drug ads almost every day vs. 62% who see them 1-3 times per month); made more aware of the risks of using drugs and alcohol (74% among those who saw ads almost every day vs. 52% among those who saw ads 1-3 times per month); and felt the ads had given them new information (60% among those who saw ads almost every day vs. 40% among those who saw ads 1-3 times per month).


The New Jersey Broadcasters Association (NJBA) is among the many media organizations that have partnered with PDFNJ to get the substance abuse prevention PSAs to the residents of New Jersey.

Paul S. Rotella, Esq.,President & CEO of NJBA, said “The New Jersey Broadcasters Association and its members are proud to support the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s public health campaign efforts in getting important messages to New Jersey parents about the deadly effects of substance abuse. We are encouraged that as a result of these efforts hundreds of thousands of New Jersey families are better prepared to have life-saving conversations with their children.”

GFK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications was commissioned by The Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey to conduct a telephone survey among a sample of 500 parents with children ages 12-15 in New Jersey. The sample was randomly drawn from listed sample purchased from American Student Lists. Interviews for this wave were conducted from January 19 - February 5, 2012.Data were weighted to New Jersey census data for key demographics of households with children ages 12-15. Margin of error at the 95% confidence level is +/- 5 percentage points for the total sample. 

Interview opportunities are available upon request

Best known for its statewide anti-drug advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication.  To date, more than $50 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership’s New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey’s history. Since its inception the Partnership has garnered over 46 Advertising and Public Relations Awards from National, Regional & Statewide Media Organizations.