• A Message From The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey

    Posted 3/18/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    All of us at the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) care deeply about our community and the community at large around the world.  We understand that the effects of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) are weighing on us all.  As the state of New Jersey has taken the appropriate steps to restrict contact through social distancing, it is important to remember that we should all be there for one another. Give people the benefit of the doubt and exhibit kindness. We should take this time in our home with our families as a time to reconnect and spend time with one another.

  • Alumni In Recovery Provides Awareness And Hope To Local Communities

    Posted 3/11/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    Alumni In Recovery (A in R) is an organization comprised of people within the recovery community, along with parents who have lost a loved one to the disease of addiction. A in R provides awareness and hope by sharing vital information. 


    They host community events across Bergen county to provide people with the opportunity to talk about addiction, find a sense support in the community and change perceptions about this terrible disease.  A in R’s next event is to take place on Thursday, March 12th from 7-9 pm at the Closter Senior Center in Closter in NJ.


    This week’s blog post is from Glynis Burke from A in R who shares her personal story with us and will be speaking at the event in Closter as well.


    All the best, 
    Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of PDFNJ


    By: Glynis Burke


    On May 19, 2019 I got the call that any mother, or father or family member dreads. The evening prior, the last words my son said to me were, “Bye mom, love you.” We had spent the whole day gardening, digging and planting down at the Jersey shore. It was a perfect day. I had my son back. I was grateful and hopeful.

  • Opioid-Related Death Rates May Be Higher Than We Think

    Posted 3/4/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    The opioid epidemic may be harder to fight than originally thought.  A new study has revealed that the number of deaths due to opioid-related overdoses could be 28% higher than what is originally reported. The documentation relating to overdose deaths, often times, does not reveal the type of drug that caused the overdose.


    This underreporting of opioid-related deaths can result in the downplaying the severity of the opioid crisis we are facing in this country. The study delved further into these overdoses and uncovered that the type of drug that caused the overdose. It looked at a total of 632,331 drug overdoses between 1999 and 2016. Of these deaths, 78.2% were drug overdoses with known drug classification and 21.8% were unclassified drug overdoses. Of the unclassified drug overdoses, further investigation revealed that 71.8% involved opioids, translating to 99,160 additional opioid-related deaths.  Additionally, there were 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017, according to an estimate from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and based on the findings from the new study, over half of those deaths -- about 47,000 -- are suspected to have involved opioids.

  • Opioid Overdoses Are A Growing Problem In Children And Adolescents

    Posted 2/26/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    A new research study released this week revealed that one in four opioid overdoses involved kids or teens. Nearly, 1 in 10 children and teens who overdosed on opioids were admitted to the critical care unit between 1015 and 2018.  In that time period, more than 1 in 5 of these overdoses was an attempted suicide. These alarming findings shed light on the stark reality that the opioid epidemic is taking a toll on our young people, and that opioid poisonings among this age group are becoming increasingly more and more likely to be life-threatening.


    There were 753,592 opioid poisoning cases reported to the National Poison Data System between 2005 and 2018, of these cases 207,543 (27.5%) involved those younger than 19 years old. Additionally, the percentage of patients in this age group admitted to a critical care unit increased from 6.6% to 9.6%, and deaths increased from .18% to .28%. Naloxone administration increased from 42.3% to 50.8%

  • Third Grade Life Choices and Activity Books are a Huge Success at Union City’s Thomas Jefferson Elementary

    Posted 2/19/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    Last week I visited with a third grade class in Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Union City to hand out our Third Grade Life Choices Coloring and Activity Books.  It was a great opportunity to be able to speak with the students and hear firsthand about their experiences and understanding about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and vaping.

    I was fortunate to have been joined by Union City Commissioner, Maryury Martinetti, and Maria Spina Program Manager at the PSEG Foundation.  The Activity Books are made possible by a grant from PSEG and we are so fortunate to have them as a partner on this third grade initiative. Their presence at the school impressed on the children how important these dug and alcohol prevention messages are.

  • Fatal Crashes Involving Drivers Who Test Positive For Marijuana Use Increased In Washington State

    Posted 2/12/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    A recent study has uncovered that the percentage of drivers in Washington state who were involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana has doubled since the state legalized the drug for recreational use in 2012.  It was found that between 2008 and 2012 – a five-year period before the drug was legal – an estimated 8.8% of Washington drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for THC.  That rate rose to 18% between 2013 and 2017 when marijuana was legalized.


    Currently, eleven states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for both recreational and medical use. Another 22 states, with New Jersey being one of them, have legalized it for medical uses only.

  • Senate Health Committee Sets Public Hearing for March 16th on Adolescent Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment

    Posted 2/5/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    The New Jersey Senate Committee has set a public hearing for March 16th on adolescent residential substance abuse disorder treatment. This week’s guest blogger, Jim Curtin, President & CEO of Daytop New Jersey is urging all of us to share our concerns about the loss of funding in recent years and the potential lack of this treatment option for our state’s young people. 

    All the best, 
    Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of PDFNJ


    By Jim Curtin, President & CEO Daytop New Jersey 

     At the urging of Senator Anthony Bucco, Senator Vitale, the Chairman of the Health Committee, has agreed to hold a hearing where testimony will be heard by treatment experts, graduates of Daytop New Jersey and family members of loved ones who have been treated at Daytop. You can find a sample letter here.

  • Rural Communities Site Drug Abuse As A Top Concern

    Posted 1/28/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    A new study released this month revealed that rural Americans are just as worried about drug addiction as they are economic conditions in their communities.  New Jersey has a population of over 8 million residents of which nine percent live in rural areas, encompassing seven of the twenty-one counties in the state. These counties are Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Cumberland, Salem, Atlantic, and Cape May.


    The study conducted in 2018 and 2019, was an open-ended survey of 2,700 rural adults and aimed to identify the major concerns of rural voters. It found that 25 percent of rural American said opioid or drug addiction was the biggest concern for their community, and 21 percent sites the same for economic conditions. This strikingly illustrates the dramatic toll of addiction on our rural communities.

  • New Jersey Becomes The First State to Ban Flavored Vaping Products

    Posted 1/22/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    I am proud to report that New Jersey just became the first state in the nation to ban flavored vaping products. I would like to applaud Governor Murphy for signing the bill into law on Monday, as well as, thank the leadership and members of the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly for supporting this bill. Flavored vaping products are especially appealing to children and teens, and this ban will hopefully help to diminish the appeal of vaping and decrease the chance of kids becoming hooked on these dangerous products.

  • The Loss Of A Great Advisor to The Partnership – Powell T. Stevenson

    Posted 1/15/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    It is with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of Powell T. Stevenson. Powell was a loyal and dedicated member of The Partnership For A Drug Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) Advisory Board for more than 15 years, and was truly committed to establishing and maintaining drug-free workspaces in the New Jersey business community. Powell devoted his life to safety and creating drug-free communities.  He was a Safety Consultant for more than 55 years, and was an active member on safety and drug-free committees, including NSMS, ASSP, NJ State Industrial Safety Committee and JCC.

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