• 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.

  • Recipe for a Happy New Year

    Posted 1/1/2020 by Angelo M. Valente

    Take twelve whole months.

    Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness,
    hate, and jealousy.

    Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.

    Now cut each month into twenty-eight, thirty, or
    thirty-one different parts,
    but don’t make up the whole batch at once.

  • Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

    Posted 12/25/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

  • The Power of Music

    Posted 12/18/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Did you know that music has the power to produce a similar euphoric effect in the brain as drugs? When a person experiences the sound of music it results in a release of dopamine, but at a natural rate. Studies show that music can also improve brain function, increase productivity, strengthen memory and learning, and equalize brain waves. It is because of these reasons that therapists use music in recovery treatment in order to familiarize the body with the feeling of a natural rush. 


    Music is also a helpful tool that can be used for substance use prevention, which is why PDFNJ created the New Jersey Shout Down Drugs music competition for New Jersey high school students. 

  • Underage Drinking

    Posted 12/11/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    According to the Mayo Clinic, some children begin experimenting with alcohol or feeling pressure to drink during early adolescence, so it is important to begin having conversations about alcohol with your children at a young age.

    This holiday season serves as the perfect opportunity to have these conversations, as families will be all together and, most likely, alcohol will be present.


    I encourage you to use this time of the year to talk with your children about the dangers of underage drinking and the importance of making healthy decisions. If you are unsure about how to approach the conversation, you can use the following suggestions offered by the Mayo Clinic:

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