• Treatment Facilities for NJ Teens With Substance Use Disorder Disappearing

    Posted 12/3/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Residential treatment centers for teenagers battling with substance use have disappeared across New Jersey. Daytop Village in Mendham is one of the two remaining in-patient treatment programs available for teens, but it might not be available much longer.


    In a recent article, James P. Curtin, president and chief executive officer of Daytop New Jersey, said the residential adolescent program will most likely close by the end of the year. He said that the issues with adolescent residential facilities began in 2014 when the state decided to move adolescent treatment programs to the N.J. Department of Children and Families, and there was widespread belief that keeping children with substance use problems in their homes rather than in institutions, such as Daytop, were sufficient. But as Curtin explains, there are some young adults whose drug use is too bad to treat at home and are in need of in-patient treatment.

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

    Posted 11/27/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    As we enter the holiday season, I would like to take a moment to say thank you to all those who support the mission of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. 

    It is through each of your collaborative efforts and support that we are able to make strides in stemming the tides of addiction and knocking out opioid abuse in New Jersey.

    On behalf of the team here at PDFNJ, I thank you and wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by friends and family.

  • New Research on Vaping

    Posted 11/19/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Since the recent outbreak of vaping-related illnesses in the country, doctors and scientists have been conducting studies to understand the effects and possible health risks linked to e-cigarette use.


    New research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA shows vaping may be worse for heart health than tobacco cigarettes, despite the common belief that e-cigarettes are the safer alternative. The study compared the hearts of 10 non-smokers to the hearts of 10 tobacco smokers and 10 e-cigarette smokers after mild exercise. According to Dr. Florian Rader, coauthor of the study and a heart specialist at Cedars-Sinai’s Smidt Heart Institute, the results suggest that “e-cigarettes cause an abnormality that impedes blood flow regulation in the heart.”


    This was one of the first studies on the heart-health effects of vaping that found a connection between vaping and an increased risk of heart attack, but it is certainly not the first study that links e-cigarette use to serious health risks. This is especially concerning, considering e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among both middle and high school students, many of which believe that vaping is harmless.

  • Prevention Through Arts

    Posted 11/13/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    Every year, thousands of families travel across the county to see some of America’s most amazing aircrafts at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) events. There is one plane in particular that flies in to the events on an important mission to raise awareness about the adolescent brain’s high vulnerability to Substance Use Disorder (SUD).


    SafeLaunch Flights About Addiction’s all-white Cessna 182, “DJ”, is the only plane in the world that welcomes kids to paint its exterior to help prevent adolescent substance use. DJ recently had its 43rd mission at the AOPA Fly-In in Livermore, California, where children painted colorful artwork on the plane after pledging not use any alcohol, tobacco or any other drug until they are at least 21.


    SafeLaunch’s painting activity allows kids to have fun while also learning about the dangers of adolescent substance use. Research shows that creative arts are helpful tools for substance use prevention and treatment, which is why PDFNJ offers a variety of free artistic school-based programs for students in third grade through high school.

  • A New Report: Physician Perspectives and Insights on the Evolving Drug Crisis in America

    Posted 11/6/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    In a first-of-its kind survey included in a new report by Quest Diagnostics, 500 U.S. primary care physicians were asked questions about prescribing controlled substances, such as opioids, amphetamines and benzodiazepines to their patients. The survey found that 72% of primary care physicians trusted their patients to take their controlled medications as prescribed when in fact 51% of patients who were prescribed opioids or other controlled medications showed signs of misuse, including drug mixing.


    The report findings underline the need to continue to educate prescribers about safe-prescribing methods and to encourage patients to ask questions about proper use and disposal of any unwanted, expired or unused medication to prevent access to these highly addictive substances.

  • Marijuana - A More Commonly Used Teen Drug Than Tobacco

    Posted 10/30/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    A study from the University of Nebraska’s College of Public Health concluded that there are more teens using marijuana and alcohol than there are teens smoking cigarettes.

    Researchers looked at marijuana, alcohol, and cigarette use among U.S. teens from 1991 to 2017 and found that the number of teens who said they used marijuana at least once over the past month rose 10-fold, from 0.6% in 1991 to 6.3% in 2017, according to HealthDay reports. The report also states that teens who said they used marijuana and alcohol combined almost doubled, from 3.6% to 7.6%.


    During that same time period, high school students who smoked cigarettes dropped from 4.4% to 1.3%.

  • Safe Disposal Saves Lives!​

    Posted 10/23/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    National Take Back Day is this Saturday, October 26!


    As National Take Back Day approaches, I would like to remind everyone of the importance of safeguarding medicine in their home to prevent access to these highly addictive medicines. This is so important because we know that many teens who misuse opioids get them from the medicine cabinets of their friends and families.


    This crisis is devastating our state and nation. Over 3,000 New Jersey families lost a loved one in 2018 alone as a result of this epidemic.

  • How to Handle The New Jersey Opioid Settlement

    Posted 10/16/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    At the New Jersey Law Enforcement Conference held back in May, Attorney General Grewal first publicly announced that New Jersey would be one of numerous states suing Purdue Pharma and the Sackler Family for sparking an epidemic with their aggressive and misleading marketing of opioids.


    As we await the outcome of the lawsuit, Linda Schwimmer, President and CEO of New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI), cautions the state to handle any opioid settlements better than those New Jersey got from Big Tobacco.


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


    By: Linda Schwimmer


    As New Jersey and other states consider settlements with Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies for their aggressive and misleading marketing of opioids, how our state handled another crisis provides a cautionary tale — one that we ignore at our own peril.


    Just look back to 1998. After years of litigation over the marketing, sale and harmful effects of tobacco, New Jersey and 45 other states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories entered into a landmark agreement with the four largest tobacco companies. This agreement, known as the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), imposed far-reaching restrictions on how tobacco products could be marketed and sold. The settlement required Big Tobacco to pay billions of dollars to the states in perpetuity to offset the costs they incurred as a result of the harmful effects of tobacco products.

  • Somerset Hills Community Strives to Knock Out Opioid Abuse​

    Posted 10/9/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    In observance of Recovery Month in September, Faith leaders have a significant role in addressing NJ’s opioid and addiction epidemic.  Community in Crisis (CIC) has partnered with various houses of worship in the Somerset Hills to educate and raise awareness about the disease of addiction throughout the entire month of October.


    Congregations and community residents will come together on Sunday, October 13th for a walk through downtown Basking Ridge, which will begin in front of St. James Church at 11:30 a.m. and will finish in front of Bishop Janes United Methodist Church (BJUMC) where prayers, testimonials, and dedications will be made.


    Church leaders from all denominations will give sermons centered on the disease of addiction and offer prayers for individuals and families who are affected by it.

  • Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day - 3 DAYS AWAY!

    Posted 10/3/2019 by Angelo M. Valente

    We are just THREE DAYS AWAY from the fourth annual Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day in New Jersey.


    On Sunday, October 6 individuals all throughout the state will embark on a crucial prevention initiative, spreading awareness and education within their communities about the risks posed by prescription painkillers and their link to heroin use.


    Recently signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is a single-day statewide event held annually on October 6. It is a day when thousands of volunteers, including law enforcement, prevention and treatment specialists, medical professionals, parents and several other concerned New Jersey residents and advocates canvas their neighborhoods distributing informative materials that highlight the addictive potential of opioids and safe-prescribing practices.


    Teams of volunteers throughout the state distribute prescriber guides to their local physicians and place informative door hangers on the front doors of homes throughout their neighborhood, inside of schools, throughout apartment buildings, in their place of work, inside of grocery bags—just about anywhere people are bound to see them. In previous years, individuals have encouraged their local pizzerias to participate in Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day by placing them on top of pizza boxes.


    We encourage our volunteers to find new and creative ways to get these important messages out in the community for all to see.


    If you are interested in getting materials and volunteering within your community, you can sign up here or call our office at 973-467-2100.

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