• Vaping: The New Epidemic

    Posted 9/25/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Health concerns about vaping are swirling throughout the nation as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently confirmed an 8th vaping-related death and has activated its emergency operations center to coordinate the investigation into about 500 cases of severe lung illnesses linked to electronic cigarettes.

    Since May of this year, individuals in various states have suddenly become ill after using e-cigarettes, reporting symptoms that resemble a pneumonia, including coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing.

    While there are many people in various age groups who vape, research shows that the number of teens who vape has doubled since 2017. The attractive and flavorful vape products, like mango and blue raspberry, certainly play a role in this growing epidemic among our youth and has led to discussions to ban the sale of e-flavored cigarette products throughout the country.

  • Community Involvement Can Help Knock Out Opioid Abuse

    Posted 9/18/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    14-year-old Toms River resident Alessandra Sophia Regenye, is determined to help bring focus to the opioid crisis impacting her hometown and used her recent Jersey Shore Girl Scout Cadette Silver Award Project to do just that, by creating the Toms River “Art Heals” Community Mural for Healing and Recovery.


    Alessandra Sophia, with many community volunteers created the “Arts Heals” mural in downtown Toms River to bring awareness to the Opioid Crisis and to remind residents and visitors to that hope for recovery is possible. Alessandra Sophia explained that her project is meant to bring communities together and inspire others to get involved and make their community a better place in some way.


    She was able to achieve her goal of bringing together many local stakeholders who were able, through the “Arts Heals” project to be part of the solution to address the opioid crisis in their town. Next week, the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Series begins again, with a focus on what is happening to develop a solution to the opioid crisis in individual communities across our state. Alessandra Sophia will be one of those featured at the September 25th event in Toms River, and I invite all those with ties to the community to attend. Each of us, regardless of our age -- as Alessandra Sophia demonstrated can help raise awareness and educate our neighbors and friends on the opioid crisis, whether through attending a town hall or sharing information during Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.

  • We Will Never Forget –September 11, 2001

    Posted 9/11/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Today marks 18 years since the horrible tragedy that befell our nation on September 11, 2001. It is hard to believe that almost two decades have passed since this act of terrorism claimed thousands of lives and impacted an entire nation of people.


    Whether indirectly or directly impacted, these acts of violence inflicted harm and instilled fear in the American people, but we did not accept defeat. In the midst of the rubble, we stood together and raised our flag as a symbol of hope and endurance.


    We still stand together today, 18 years later, grieving all those who lost their lives, honoring our first responders, and commending those who carried on. Your memory and valor will never be forgotten.

  • Back to School Tools To Help Keep Our Youth Drug-Free

    Posted 9/4/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    As always, the summer months came and went so quickly, and now it’s time to put away the beach chairs and pull out the books as we head back into another exciting school year!


    A countless number of great opportunities lie ahead as students return to the classroom. Over the course of the year, students will be learning new things, making new friends, and continuing to grow. It is important that as they continue on their journey of learning their education also includes prevention to continue living a healthy lifestyle free of drugs.


    Adolescent drug use is evolving, and our youth are at greater risk of using and becoming dependent on certain substances. Vaping, in particular, has become concerning trend among adolescents. Research shows that electronic cigarettes are the most frequently used tobacco product, and vaping may lead to brain damage. It is important for educators, parents, and caregivers to be aware of the current risks teens are facing to help aid in drug-use prevention.


    Thankfully, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey offers several programs that can help keep you informed on up-to-date substance use research.

  • Participate in Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day 2019

    Posted 8/28/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer 2019 are just a few days away. I hope the summer months were filled with family time, enjoying the beach, boardwalk and all of your summertime traditions.


    Summer was a busy and exciting time at PDFNJ --- we updated our 15 Minute Child Break to include more information on vaping and other trends and launched our #SquashtheStigma challenge and were so pleased when Governor Phil Murphy designated October 6th of each year as “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” helping to bring more focus and participation to this annual prevention, education and awareness event.  


    Last year, more than 10,000 volunteers participated in this important day, distributing vital information on safe prescribing practices to healthcare providers, as well as prevention materials to residents in neighborhoods throughout New Jersey. Volunteers also organized events, Friday Night Lights football games, songwriting contests, candlelight vigils and charity walks to share messages to combat New Jersey’s opioid crisis.

  • Special Monday Blog: Straight & Narrow Rehab Center Fire

    Posted 8/26/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    This past weekend, we heard the unfortunate news about a fire that burned down the Straight & Narrow halfway house in Paterson, displacing over 200 individuals who are recovering from drug and alcohol dependency.

    During December, Straight & Narrow hosted the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey on a tour through their facilities. The entire team was so welcoming and hospitable during our time there. We are saddened to hear of this terrible news, but we are thankful that everyone is safe.


    In response to this horrible tragedy, a fundraiser has been arranged to help provide shelters for all those displaced from the blaze.

  • New Opioid Research and a Welcome Home Plan for Loved Ones with Substance Use Disorder

    Posted 8/20/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Can opioid withdrawal medications heal a brain damaged by addiction? Which medication works best for patients?


    Government scientists are conducting research at the National Institute of Health’s research hospital to find answers to these questions. They are studying the brains of individuals with opioid use disorder to see whether opioid withdrawal medications, like methadone and buprenorphine, can do more than relieve withdrawal symptoms.


    Research proves that these medications can effectively treat opioid use disorder, but we also know that long term use changes the chemistry in the brain leaving individuals vulnerable to relapse.


    For this reason, it is important for families to be fully prepared and supportive for when their loved ones return home from a residential treatment program.

  • St. Maxmilian Kolbe Fraternity Hosting a Healing Prayer Service

    Posted 8/14/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    On August 18th, St. Maxmilian Kolbe Fraternity will be hosting a Healing Prayer Service for anyone suffering from the disease of addiction. Our guest blogger Dorothy O’Reilly writes about the history of The Secular Franciscan Order and St. Maxmilian Kolbe, the Patron Saint of Addicts who is the inspiration for their upcoming healing service.


    Just as a reminder, if you haven’t already participated in the #SquashTheStigma challenge, please submit your videos on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with the hashtag #SquashTheStigma and tag us @DrugFreeNJ. Click here for more information and to see videos of all our Squash The Stigma challenge participants.


    By Dorothy O’Reilly - Minister of St. Maximilian Kolbe Fraternity


    Members of the Secular Franciscan Order, St. Maximilian Kolbe Fraternity are sponsoring a Healing Prayer Service for all those suffering from addictions on Sunday, August 18 at 2 PM at St. Peter’s Church, 406 Forman Ave, Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742.

  • Squash the Stigma

    Posted 8/7/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey recently launched an online water balloon challenge called Squash the Stigma.

    Stigma is a concept that describes the powerful, negative perceptions commonly associated with substance use disorder. Stigmatizing words and labels damage a person’s self-esteem, their relationships with loved ones, and also prevents those suffering from this disease from accessing treatment.

    Our goal is to spread awareness and help eliminate this pervasive stigma through the Squash the Stigma challenge, which began on August 1 and will continue until International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31.

    How about you? Are you ready to #Squash the Stigma?

  • New Jersey First State to Let Paramedics Offer Opioid Withdrawal Medicine

    Posted 7/31/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    New Jersey recently became the first state to let paramedics administer the opioid withdrawal drug, Buprenorphine, after they revive individuals who have overdosed.

    Buprenorphine is proven to effectively counteract the flu-like symptoms of withdrawal and help get people into addiction treatment programs, according to a 2019 report.

    Once paramedics administer naloxone to individuals who have overdosed, the withdrawal process is sped up and symptoms that are normally felt within a day come on almost immediately. For this reason, it is typical for these individuals to rush off to get another dose of drugs to relieve those symptoms of withdrawal.


Blog Updates

Enter your email address and we'll send you an email each time we post something new.