News Release
For Immediate Release:
August 19, 2008

Contacts: Douglas S. Collier
Special Agent/Public Information Officer, NJ Division
(973)776-1143 (Office)
(862) 849-9940 (Cell)

Public Service Campaign Marks National Medicine Abuse
Awareness Month in New Jersey

AUG 19 -- (LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ) - Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New Jersey Division and Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director, Partnership For A Drug Free New Jersey announced a statewide Public Service Campaign targeting the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs that was held on Monday, August 18, 2008 at McGrath Pharmacy on Lawrenceville Road.

The campaign, entitled “Grandma’s Stash,” is an award winning multi-media effort using newspapers, radio stations, billboards, buses and trains throughout New Jersey to raise awareness that misuse of prescription drugs is second only to the use of marijuana as the nation’s most prevalent drug problem.

In July 2008, the United States Senate passed a Bipartisan Resolution sponsored by Senators Joseph Biden, Jr. (D-DE) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) designating August 2008 as National Medicine Abuse Awareness month. The Resolution was prompted by a recent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report that cited medicine misuse as the nation’s second biggest drug problem.

“The “Grandma’s Stash” campaign was created by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) and sends an important message to parents, grandparents and other caregivers that young people have easy access to dangerous misused prescription medication in almost every home medicine cabinets,” explained Special Agent in Charge, Gerard P. McAleer, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New Jersey Division. “It is important for all parents to be diligent and lock and safeguard their medications.”

“More teens now say it’s easier to get powerful prescription drugs than it is to buy beer,” noted Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “Parents have been accustomed to locking their liquor cabinets and talking to their children about the dangers of alcohol and recreational drugs. Now they must be just as diligent in monitoring medicine cabinets and discussing the dangers of misusing and abusing prescription medication.”

Joseph Roney, R. Ph. FACP/CEO, New Jersey Pharmacist Association lauded the “Grandma’s Stash” pharmacy bag distribution as a “great example of a public-private-non-profit collaboration that can positively impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Jersey families.”

The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s Center for Prevention Research (NJCPR) has conducted numerous statewide studies that revealed that the severity of the issue of the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medication.

“In the 2007 New Jersey Middle School Principals Study, half of the principals surveyed indicated that they believed prescription drugs were abused more than twice that of ecstasy and cocaine by their students,” said Joseph A. Miele, Chairman, PDFNJ. “The 2007 PDFNJ Parent Tracking Survey found that 44% of New Jersey Parents of Middle School Students said they knew little or just about nothing about prescription drug abuse.”

Also speaking at the press conference were Executive Director Mary Lou Powner, Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (GCADA), Executive Director Diane Litterer, New Jersey Prevention Network (NJPN), and Linda Surks, Founder of Jason’s Message.

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 $25 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.

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