Statement of PDFNJ Supporting Revisions to the Parental Consent Law for Surveying of Students
PDFNJ Executive Director Testifies to the Importance of the Passage of A-2421, Supporting Revisions to the Parental Consent Law for Surveying Students.
In 1992, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) was created as a state anti-drug alliance to localize, strengthen and deepen drug and alcohol abuse prevention media efforts. Since our founding, New Jersey’s print, billboard, radio, and television media outlets have donated more than $80 million in pro bono messaging, making PDFNJ the largest pro-bono media campaign in New Jersey’s history.
In order the measure the effectiveness of its media efforts on NJ youth, and to design future research-based prevention programs, the Partnership conducted a biannual, anonymous statewide Middle School Study on Substance Abuse for over a decade, until the active consent legislation was instituted.
The value of gathering data from Middle School students in New Jersey cannot be overstated. New Jersey prevention efforts have been at a serious disadvantage as a result of the implementation of active consent.
Not only do surveys evaluate the effectiveness of current prevention efforts, but it also identifies needs for future prevention initiatives. One dramatic example of this was the 1998 survey which concluded that children who spoke with their parents on a daily basis were 57% less likely to experiment with drugs. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, as a result of this research, developed the “15 Minute Child Break,” a one-hour parent prevention program which has reached over 50,000 New Jersey parents with lifesaving information.
Armed with information from this same survey, that found children who had meals with their parents, five times a week or more, were 67% less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol; the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, initiated an award winning Public Service Campaign, entitled “Food & Family”. This campaign was so groundbreaking, at the time, that the research division of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy adopted the program from New Jersey and shared it with the nation.
Further, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey research positioned the State of New Jersey as a national leader, in regards to the prevention of substance abuse to this demographic. Unfortunately, since that passing of Active Consent our leadership position has been lost.
Passive consent allows for the collection of imperial data that is necessary to create prevention programs and initiatives that impact New Jersey families and save lives.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide this expert testimony on this issue.
Submitted by: Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director
Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey
February 11, 2013