Religious Leaders Gather To Address NJ’s Opiate Abuse Epidemic



December 4, 2014

Matt Scuteri
Media Coordinator
Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey

Religious Leaders Gather To Address NJ’s Opiate Abuse Epidemic

The Faith-Based Do No Harm symposium, hosted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey in conjunction with the DEA - New Jersey Division and New York/New Jersey HIDTA, featured discussion topics such as the dynamic of addiction in families and resources to get help for those who need it. (l-r) Glen King, Executive Director, Freedom House, Inc., Patrick Roff, NJ Recovery Advocate, New Jersey Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Henry Mohammad, Jeanette Grimes, and Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director, Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

NEWARK – Turning to a faith leader to help address substance abuse addiction in a loved one is often the first step for a family. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) coordinated a free training to provide resources and information to those Faith Based leaders.

The Faith Based Do No Harm Symposium was held on December 4, 2014 at the Newark Museum. The symposium was sponsored by PDFNJ and the Drug-Enforcement Administration-New Jersey Division.

Highlights from the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s Faith-Based Do No Harm Symposium


“Faith-based leaders and officials are valuable resources for those suffering from substance abuse – particularly during this epidemic of opiate abuse here in New Jersey, said Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of PDFNJ.

“This symposium is aimed at educating the religious community about this deadly epidemic and providing resources and information for them to assist the families in their congregations. Our objective is to better equip our religious community leaders to handle the opiate abuse epidemic in their congregations so we can save more lives,” said Valente

Topics that were addressed at the Do No Harm Symposium were the current trends in substance abuse afflicting New Jersey families, the dynamic of addiction and how to prevent substance abuse, resources and information to assist those suffering from addiction, and key steps in supporting long-term recovery.

“The opioid abuse problem is a plague currently threatening our communities locally and nationally. The Do No Harm symposium stressed that this is not a problem that can be solved by any one entity,” said Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA – New Jersey Division.

For more information on the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, visit


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 $70 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 120 Advertising and Public Relations Awards from National, Regional & Statewide Media Organizations.