Study Shows More New Jersey Parents Recognize Links Between Prescription Opioids and Heroin Use


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Contact: Matt Birchenough, 201-916-1032,

Study Shows More New Jersey Parents Recognize Links Between Prescription Opioids and Heroin Use

MILLBURN — New Jersey parents are becoming more aware of the risks of prescription opioids and their link to heroin use, according to a study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ).

A poll, conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University in September, found that 69 present of parents of children 18 or younger believe there is a link between prescription painkillers given for sports injuries or wisdom teeth removal and the heroin epidemic currently impacting New Jersey.

In 2016, a study by the Partnership found that 66 percent of parents of middle school students were aware of such a link.

“Parents are the first and most important line of defense for prevention,” PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “It is encouraging that more parents are becoming informed on this issue and are better equipped to take preventive actions to keep their children safe and healthy.”

Results of the survey showed that levels of knowledge differed across demographics such as age; 74 percent of respondents 18-34 believed there was a link between prescription opioids and heroin compared to 63 percent of respondents 55 and older. Meanwhile, 69 percent of participants with a college degree believed in the link compared to 66 percent who did not attend college or attended some college.

“The big takeaway is the fact that across a host of demographic categories, a majority believe in the connection,” said Krista Jenkins, director of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind research center.

As part of its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has created and distributed several media campaigns to help raise parents’ awareness of the dangers of prescription opioids. The Partnership also offers educational programs for parents, including the Fifth Grade Parent Alert and the 15 Minute Child Break presentation.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey on a topic of such critical importance to our residents,” Jenkins said. “Before a problem can be addressed, knowledge and awareness must be present. Although there remains room for improvement, it looks like our society is well on its way to at least recognizing the ease with which heroin can get its hooks into unsuspecting victims.”

The poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone using a random sample of 805 adults in New Jersey aged 18 and older. Results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.8 percentage points, including the design effect.


Best known for its statewide substance use prevention 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 $100 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 174 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.