PDFNJ Calls on Middle Schoolers to Enter the PSA Challenge


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 29, 2023
Contacts: Lisa Batitto, news@drugfreenj.org

Join the Movement: Partnership for a
Drug-Free New Jersey Calls on
Middle Schoolers to Enter the PSA Challenge

MILLBURN, NJ — The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) is calling on New Jersey fifth through eighth-grade students to enter its 2023-2024 Middle School PSA Challenge. Participants can win $1,000, have their video shared across the tri-state area, and be featured in PDFNJ’s social media and peer-to-peer substance use messaging.

The Challenge invites middle schoolers to create a 30-second public service announcement focusing on substance use prevention. It emphasizes the effectiveness of peer-to-peer messages in helping youth navigate and resist pressures from their classmates.

“Through this Challenge, middle school students have the opportunity to be at the forefront of promoting positive choices among their classmates,” said Angelo Valente, executive director of PDFNJ. “This peer-to-peer approach is not just about talking; it’s about understanding and influencing each other in a way that only they can, given their shared experiences and perspectives. This kind of direct, relatable communication can truly shape a drug-free future. We’re excited to see how this year’s participants use their creativity to make a real impact.”

Last year’s winner was Cameron Perez-Alcalde, then an eighth-grade student at Schuyler Colfax Middle School in Wayne. He was recognized for his video that encouraged young people to refuse drugs and adopt a healthy lifestyle. To view his winning PSA or for more information about this year’s contest, visit www.drugfreenj.org/mspsa

Entries for the Middle School PSA Challenge will be accepted through March 1, 2024. Judging will be based on the prevention message, peer-to-peer relatability, and the ability to produce a video. The winners will be announced in the spring of 2024.


Best known for its statewide substance use prevention 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 $200 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 226 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.