Thanksgiving Wishes from PDFNJ

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and staff at the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ), we want to extend our best wishes for a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving to each of our subscribers and their families.

This time of the year allows all of us the opportunity to reflect on what we are thankful for.  At the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey we are thankful for the unwavering support we receive from so many throughout the year who help us spread our important messages.

We are also thankful for our legislative leaders who have developed a comprehensive legislative package—led by Senator Joseph F. Vitale, Chairman of the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee— to address the opiate epidemic that is impacting families in all neighborhoods throughout our state.  One such effort that we are extremely thankful for is the Parent Notification Bill (A-4760) which was introduced this week by Assemblyman Joseph A. Lagana.  This legislation provides parents with the critical information needed to make an informed decision about whether their teenager should be prescribed an opiate by requiring that doctors and other prescribers discuss the potential risks of dependency before writing a prescription, as well as, where appropriate, discuss potential alternative treatments.  When parents make a decision to go forward with an opiate prescription, this legislation provides the added benefit of alerting them to be on the look-out for any signs of dependence developing.

Prevent Opiate Abuse is an organization that has been on the forefront of significantly reducing the abuse of prescription opiate-based painkillers in New Jersey through advancing initiatives, both governmental and non-governmental, that are effective.  Prevent Opiate Abuse leaders point to the fact that while addiction to opiate-based prescription painkillers and their illegal street cousin, heroin, has spread to all demographic and age groups, teenagers are particularly at risk.

The teenage years are a “critical window of vulnerability for substance abuse disorders,” according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), “because the brain is still developing and is still malleable.”  The parts of the brain that are attracted to drug use mature before the parts of the brain that are responsible for making sound, non-impulsive decisions.  High school students who use prescription opioids like OxyContin, Vicodin and other pain relievers, are 33 percent more likely to abuse the drug by the age of 23, according to a recent University of Michigan study.

Prevent Opiate Abuse is asking for your support for Parent Notification Bill A-4760.  If you are interested in finding out more, visit Prevent Opiate Abuse.

As you share Thanksgiving with your family and friends, please know that we at the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey are forever thankful for your continued interest, commitment and support. 

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Andrea Cortese
Posted 12/1/2015 11:47 AM

I would like to thank Senator Vitale for his efforts on getting A-4760 developed. Parents should be completely informed regarding the consequences of opiate prescriptions and be able to make informed decisions on alternate treatments. We all must do our part in pushing this Bill through to Gov. Christie; we've lost too many lives to this terrible epidemic.

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