Former Gov. James Florio Honored with Drugs Don’t Work in NJ! Founder’s Award at Annual Seminar



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From left, Daniel A. Altilio, President and CPO, United Way of Hudson County; Eugene J. Cornacchia, President, Saint Peter’s University; Angelo Valente, Executive Director, Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey; former Gov. James J. Florio; Jeff Mandler, CEO, CarePoint Health;  Paula A. Nevoso, President, CarePoint Foundation; Bret Marin, Horizon Health.

JERSEY CITY — The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey recognized former Gov. James J. Florio on Wednesday, presenting him with the Drugs Don’t Work in NJ! Founder’s Award at the 20th Annual Legal Issues of a Drug-Free Workplace Statewide Seminar held at Saint Peter’s University.

“Governor Florio has played a crucial role in helping companies in New Jersey establish drug-free workplace policies that provide supervisory training, drug testing procedures and, when necessary, ensuring that employers and employees know what to do and where to go for treatment of substance abuse disorders,” said Angelo Valente, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

Florio, who served as New Jersey’s governor from 1990 to 1994, was praised for his foresight and vision in establishing Drugs Don’t Work in NJ! to help New Jersey businesses be compassionate and competitive.

“The program raised the level of awareness of people of the significance of this problem of drugs in the workplace,” Florio said. “In this country, we don’t really get things done until we get people engaged and informed about the problem.”

The seminar was held at the Duncan Family Sky Room at Saint Peter’s University, one of the event’s co-sponsors.

“Knowledge is power. This conference raises the awareness on issues of creating and maintaining a drug-free workplace,” said university President Eugene J. Cornacchia.

The seminar also was co-sponsored by CarePoint Foundation, CarePoint Health, Mack-Cali, Horizon Health and the United Way of Hudson County.

“CarePoint Foundation is proud to partner with the great work that the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is doing in raising awareness of the importance of a drug-free work environment,” said foundation President Paula A. Nevoso.

The event drew professionals from various fields, who were informed by expert doctors and attorneys on topics that included the impact of prescription drug abuse in the workplace, medical and legalized marijuana, drug testing protocols, trends in drug use and new case law.

“We are proud to co-sponsor this important gathering to help address the epidemic of opioid addiction we face in New Jersey,” said Dr. Nizar Kifaieh, Chief Medical Officer of CarePoint Health. 

Added Mary Bishop, Vice President of Operations for Horizon Health: “We all have vital work to do in the substance abuse treatment field and must continue to address the growing drug abuse epidemic in New Jersey and around the country.”

Statistics show that 70 percent of drug abusers are employed and, in many cases, found jobs in companies with no drug policy. Substance abuse in the workplace can lead to higher absenteeism, more accidents, higher health care costs, more theft, workplace violence, decreased productivity and lower profits to a business owner’s bottom line.

“Substance abuse can have catastrophic effects on an individual, as well as family, friends and colleagues, making it imperative for our community to work together to strengthen drug prevention efforts and promote healthy and vibrant businesses and neighborhoods across our state,” said Ilene Jablonski, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Mack-Cali.

Founded in 1992, Drugs Don't Work in NJ! merged with the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey in 1999. More than 3,500 New Jersey business have taken part in the initiative, including many non-profit organizations.

“It’s very important for non-profits to realize that they are employers,” said Daniel A. Altilio, President of the United Way of Hudson County. “This conference provides important information on handling difficult situations with employees that are using drugs.”


Best known for its statewide anti-drug advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication. To date, more than $70 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership’s New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey’s history. Since its inception the Partnership has garnered 161 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.