• Sunday, July 17th - Day of Awareness and Memorial

    Posted 7/13/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    The TalkNowNJ.Com website was designed to help raise awareness about the opiate abuse epidemic that is devastating families across the state. Four moms whose lives were forever changed by their children's addiction to opiates came together to help PDFNJ share information about the signs and symptoms of opiate abuse. This selfless effort helps other parents identify substance use disorders in their children and get them treatment, as well as reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and recovery. PDFNJ’s Co-Chair Elaine Pozycki, PICK Awareness’s Donna DeStefano, Meg Parisi and Abby Boxman - all four of the mom’s featured in the TalkNowNJ.Com video - tirelessly continue to share these messages and work to reduce stigma in their own ways. This Sunday, July 17th, Abby Boxman and the Boxman Family will be holding a Day of Awareness and Memorial – an afternoon of educating the community about New Jersey's prescription drug/opioid epidemic. It will be held at the North Howell Little League on Oakerson Rd., and feature the New Jersey Shouts Down Drugs second place winner Michelle Greco, among others.

  • Study Links Early Childhood Trauma to Increased Substance Abuse

    Posted 7/6/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    As substance use disorders become an even larger public health concern for so many families, researchers are trying to identify pre-existing conditions that may be an important indicator in developing targeted prevention initiatives. In a recent study, Canadian researchers have found that early childhood trauma was an important leading indicator in future substance abuse disorders and alcohol abuse. At a recent conference held in Maryland and hosted by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA) that I attended, several pilot programs are now in effect across our country that trigger communications between law enforcement and school counselors once children are witness to, or involved in, a traumatic experience in their homes. The purpose of these programs is to immediately provide all the necessary support for those children that school districts have available to them.

  • More Teens Believe Marijuana Use Will Have no Effect on their Health

    Posted 6/29/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    For several decades, research has demonstrated that the perception of risk is directly correlated with the level of experimentation and use of marijuana and other drugs. This is especially true for teenagers, and based on a recent article by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) there is significant reason for concern. This study highlights the fact that the perception of risk is decreasing among U.S. teens when it comes to their opinions about the dangers of marijuana use. According to SAMHSA’s 2014 Drug Use and Health Report, only one in five teenagers perceived marijuana as a health risk and a staggering 1.8 million adolescents admit to using marijuana in the past month. To learn more about marijuana, visit the drug encyclopedia located on PDFNJ’s website.

  • ABC News Reveals the Realities of Addiction in America [VIDEO]

    Posted 6/22/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    Substance abuse disorders don't just have an effect on one age, demographic or community. This week, ABC News produced a video that is crucial for everyone to watch. A little over a minute into the video it states several staggering statistics on the effects of addiction in the United States. This video provides an outline on everything; from how many young adults try illicit drugs for the first time to the number of addiction treatment facilities currently open in the United States.

  • Statewide Study Finds Nearly 1 in 3 Parents Do Not Link Painkillers with Heroin Abuse

    Posted 6/15/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    Yesterday, PDFNJ released the findings of the 2016 PDFNJ 12h Annual Tracking Study of Parent Attitudes and Behavior in Alcohol and Drug Abuse. This bi-annual research found that while New Jersey battles an opioid abuse epidemic, nearly one in three parents of New Jersey middle school students do not believe there is a link between painkillers, prescribed for things like sports injuries and wisdom tooth removal, and the rising use of heroin in New Jersey. The study also found that less than 50 percent of parents feel they are knowledgeable about heroin. Parents in New Jersey must take heed; prescription drug abuse is happening in our homes and in many cases leading to heroin abuse– unfortunately no family is immune from this epidemic.

  • Medical Students Demand Better Training to Tackle Opioid Crisis

    Posted 6/8/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    Over the last few years there has been much discussion and concern over the lack of sufficient training that medical schools provide new physicians on safe prescribing, addiction, and alternatives to opiates for pain management treatment. Medical students at Harvard University recognize this lack of crucial knowledge and have taken matters into their own hands. They have initiated a self-taught curriculum to prepare themselves to address the opiate epidemic where doctors are on the front line. These young interns are an inspiration because of their proactive effort and concerns for the wellbeing of their future patients. This recent news comes as PDFNJ prepares for its 10th Do No Harm Symposium at Hoboken University Medical Center this Friday to educate NJ’s medical community about the opiate abuse epidemic and safer prescribing, while also developing solutions to address this issue. Over the last two years PDFNJ has engaged over 2,000 doctors in this nationally recognized award-winning symposium series.

  • Taking a Closer Look at the Link between Elder Abuse and the Substance Abuse Epidemic

    Posted 6/1/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    The impact of opiate abuse is far reaching regardless of income, gender or age. This week I would like to bring focus to an article published by the Boston Globe in May 2016 about the rising surge of elder abuse in Massachusetts and its direct relation to the ongoing opiate epidemic this country is facing. According to the article, 24,978 cases of elder abuse were reported last year in Massachusetts. Over the past five years, elder abuse in Massachusetts rapidly increased and law enforcement as well as government officials believe the opioid crisis is behind it.

  • New Jersey High School Students Shout Down Drugs at Statewide Substance Abuse Prevention Music Competition

    Posted 5/25/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    Twenty-nine finalists representing fourteen counties competed with songs they composed themselves that express deep and thoughtful messages about substance abuse prevention. The talent that was showcased on the stage at Rutgers University’s Nicholas Music Center in New Brunswick on May 25 was incredible. It is gratifying to know that these amazing teen musicians are devoted to a healthy and drug-free lifestyle.

  • Newly Introduced Senate Bill Limits the Amount of Opioids Prescribed to Patients

    Posted 5/18/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    This week, I would like to focus on New Jersey lawmakers and in particular Senator James Holzapfel’s (R-10) S2188 Bill which would require doctors to limit the amount of opioids prescribed to patients on a first-time basis or to minors to no longer than seven days. The prescription drug epidemic impacts all age groups and, in particular, our young people. As you will see in the video below, Lynn Regan, whose son David founded the "Loud N Clear" Foundation in Howell, knows firsthand just how devastating a substance abuse problem can be on one’s well-being and their loved ones. The proposed legislation would also have prescribers discuss risks of a drug with the parents/guardians of a minor or first-time user. This is crucial in developing strategies to reverse the prescription drug and heroin epidemic our state and nation are facing… as more and more of our children gain access to prescribed medications, more are getting addicted. Barnabas Hospital in Toms River is already limiting types of medications, dosages and frequency in their emergency rooms while St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson became the first in the nation to utilize an Alternative to Opiates Program in their emergency rooms. With efforts like these, we can ensure that all New Jerseyans are exposed to safer alternatives.

  • Before They Prescribe You Decide

    Posted 5/11/2016 by Angelo M. Valente

    This week, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association introduced a series of recommendations addressing the prescribing of opiates for sports injuries. One recommendation states, “All opioid prescriptions should be accompanied with detailed information on use, including specific warnings about abuse and addiction risks.” Kudos to the NJSIAA for raising awareness about the need to for physicians to inform parents of the addictive qualities of the opioid medicine that is prescribed to their children. And, the need for parents to ask their physician about the addictive qualities of the opioid their children receive. #BeforeTheyPrescribeYouDecide

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