5 New Year's Resolutions for a Drug-Free 2014

Happy New Year to all of our friends and partners! The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is now entering its 22nd year of media innovation in the battle against substance abuse in our state. We’ve been at this a long time and seen many different phases in the war on substance abuse but we are still deeply saddened whenever we hear statistics like the ones that came out of Ocean County this year, which we had the opportunity to discuss with Geraldo Rivera just last week. There are ways we can all significantly improve our efforts and what better time to reflect than on New Year’s Day. So here are 5 New Year’s Resolutions we hope the entire state of New Jersey will make with us to save lives in 2014.


                                    Image source: wikipedia.org

  1. Continue our efforts to eradicate prescription drug abuse

Initiatives like the American Medicine Chest Challenge and other similar programs have gone a long way in taking prescription drugs off the streets. Our hope is that families across New Jersey and the country continue to monitor their medicine cabinets for signs of abuse. 2013 saw the first “Do No Harm” symposium, an event the Partnership organized with the help of federal partners, designed to start a constructive conversation between doctors, patients, and law enforcement. It was a productive conversation and we certainly hope it continues in 2014.

  1. Educate parents on the dangers of heroin abuse

New Jersey is home to some of the purest heroin in the country, but that’s nothing to be proud of. Heroin is an extraordinarily dangerous drug that has the potential, depending on the purity, to kill on the very first use. The CDC linked the rise of heroin to the rising street cost of prescription drugs. A single pill can cost up to $80 while a deck of heroin only costs up $10. The aforementioned overdoses in Ocean County alone spiked dramatically this year. Hopefully, as more parents become aware of this frightening issue, that number will drop. Our website has factsheets for heroin and plenty of other popular illicit substances.

  1. Close the gap between parents and their kids

Speaking of parents becoming more aware, our Parent Tracking Survey from 2012 indicated a significant gap in the perceived reasons why kids use drugs. 65% of parents believed that kids use drugs to look cool to their peers. But kids tell a different story. Nearly 80% of kids say that they use drugs to deal with pressure and stress of school. These numbers indicate a communication gap exists between parents and their kids. How are they supposed to have honest, real conversations about substance abuse when they can’t communicate effectively?

  1. Encourage more peer-to-peer prevention

We have plenty of school-based initiatives that encourage students of all ages to use their creativity to spread prevention messages to their peers. But we believe that you can never have enough. Students can influence each other in powerful ways. Our school based programs aim to inspire students to be positive role models in their classrooms. We hope parents will teach their kids to do the same.


The cornerstone of everything we do involves communication between parents and their kids. Kids who have open discussion with their parents regarding substance abuse are far less likely to fall into it. We get a lot of questions from parents about how to talk to their kids. And the answer is quite simple. Take 15 minutes everyday, whether it be after school or during a meal, to talk to your kids. Talk to them about anything and everything and show them that you are someone who can be trusted. Tell them you love them and share your concerns and values about the dangers of substance abuse. If every parent can take this simple step to heart, then our 2014 will certainly be bright indeed.

What are your resolutions for the New Year? Let us know below!

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