Update on Substance Abuse Prevention Resource

Parents Who Host Lose the Most
One of many decisions facing parents of teenagers is how to deal with the prospect of underage drinking. Though many parents prohibit underage drinking, there are those that allow it. Some parents even host underage drinking in their homes. We've heard all the arguments or rationalizations: "We drank in high school and we're fine;" "All of the other parents allow it;" and "We can keep a better eye on things if they party at home."

Parents should consider recent studies that have clearly demonstrated that consumption of alcohol by teenagers can lead to impaired cognitive and physical development, memory and learning problems, increased risk of abusing other substances, alcohol dependence and future alcohol and mental health problems. Those facts should be enough to convince parents to prohibit underage drinking.

In addition to putting their children at risk, parents that host underage drinking parties in their home are now taking on responsibility for other minors. Parents should understand the laws related to hosting underage drinking. In summary:
  • Adults who knowingly allow a person under the age of 21 to remain on their property while consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages can be prosecuted and face jail, fines and/or loss of property.
  • If someone is injured or dies or if there is property damage arising out of underage drinking on their property, adults can be responsible for civil damages. 
In many cases, damages arising out of underage drinking can dramatically exceed the liability limits on a homeowners' policy. 

Moreover, adults who provide alcohol to underage youth send a mixed message and can only add to a teenager's confusion about the acceptability of drinking. They are also sending the message to teens that they don't have to obey the law. Most teenagers appreciate it when their parents set boundaries and establish expectations that are fairly enforced. 

Here are a few tips that parents may want to consider:
  • Set clear, firm and consistent family rules about teen drinking.  Remind your teenager, prior to a party, that he or she is absolutely prohibited from drinking and using illegal substances.
  • Be a model for responsible behavior.  Parents and guardians are the most important role models for their children.  If you use alcohol, set a good example and drink responsibly.  Also, have a plan for those who drink too much and make sure your guests don't drink and drive.
  • Be aware of how your attitudes and behavior toward underage drinking also influence your teenager.  Avoid making jokes about underage drinking or drunkenness, or otherwise showing acceptance of underage alcohol use.
  • If you are hosting a party for your teenage children, offer plenty of delicious, attractive non-alcoholic drinks.  Supervise the party to ensure others do not bring in alcohol or drugs. Do not keep alcohol somewhere easily accessible by your teens and keep your liquor cabinets locked. 
The above guidelines are adopted from information provided by Parents Who Host Lose the Most, a national campaign of the Drug Free Action Alliance.  It is a public awareness program educating communities and parents about the health and safety risks of serving alcohol at teen parties.  For more information on the Parents Who Host Lose the Most Program, click here.  Click here to view a presentation by The Center For Alcohol and Drug Resources. 
New Opioid Law Signed in NJ
Governor Christie has signed drug addiction and treatment reform legislation which, among other things, will guarantee Insurance coverage for treatment of a substance abuse disorder without any waiting period and which will limit initial opioid prescriptions to five days.  With this new law, insurance carriers are mandated to provide anyone diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder with insurance coverage for treatment for 180 days.  Also, a five-day limit on initial opioid prescriptions, lowered from 30 days, is mandated "to avoid deadly and habit-forming gateway drugs from getting into the hands of children and the vulnerable" (quote from Governor's press release), with rigorous processes for opioid prescription renewals which will help to address the serious issue of over-prescribing of opioids.  Opioid prescribers will need to undertake a myriad of safeguards, including notification of the risks of addiction, entering into pain management agreements, and inquiring about patients' medical history and proclivity for abuse addiction. Please click here to view the legislation which has been signed by Governor Christie. Please click here to view the press release issued by the Governor's office.  
If you are in crisis or need guidance with substance abuse issues, you can contact Patty 24/7, at 201-466-1408, or you can email her at MuniAlliance@franklinlakes.org.  All communications will be strictly confidential. 
Substance Abuse Prevention Initiative
Junior Stephanie Reifman, of Northern Highlands Regional High School, has created a program called HAPPY which stands for Heroin Addiction Prevents People's Years. Reifman was inspired to create the program in 2013, after one of her favorite actors, Cory Monteith of "Glee" fame, died of a heroin overdose.  Patty Trava, the Franklin Lakes Community Liaison to the Municipal Alliance, shared her story with Northern Highlands Regional High School students last week as part of the HAPPY Week program. Please click here to view the article from The Record.  If you are in crisis or need guidance with substance abuse issues, you can contact Patty 24/7, at 201-466-1408, or you can email her at MuniAlliance@franklinlakes.org.  All communications will be strictly confidential. 
From Patty Trava, Community Liaison for the Municipal Alliance
Update on Substance Abuse Prevention Resource
Drug Overdose Incidents
As Community Liaison for the Municipal Alliance, I have received numerous calls to assist those in crisis or needing guidance involving substance abuse issues. Many parents have called to ask questions or to have someone to talk to about their concerns. I have also spoken to individuals seeking information on the most appropriate facility for detox and rehabilitation.  I am able to provide referral information so that people can get help for substance abuse issues. 

During my daughter's struggle with heroin, I felt lost and didn't know who to reach out to for help. Since her death three years ago, I have become more knowledgeable about treatment options. The more residents we can inform and guide during this difficult time, the better our chances for saving our loved ones from opioid and heroin abuse.

I was appointed to this position in August 2016. In this position, I support the Municipal Alliance of Franklin Lakes in its efforts to combat the abuse of drugs and alcohol by serving as a confidential point person for individuals and families in need. Providing this resource was a key component of the Borough's Substance Abuse Awareness Initiative, which has been spearheaded by Mayor Bivona, the Municipal Alliance and the Board of Health.  The Municipal Alliance will be continuing its Substance Abuse Awareness Initiative in the coming year, providing programming and resources to bring more awareness to the substance abuse problem.  Through awareness we can make progress towards combating this epidemic. 

I will be joining Mayor Frank Bivona and Municipal Alliance Chairman Henry Wasserstein at a Meet the Mayor meeting to be held on February 16, 2017, at 7:00 pm, in the Council Chambers at Borough Hall, to answer questions about my experience and my position, and to get your thoughts and input on the Substance Abuse Awareness Initiative.

I look forward to continuing my position and encourage anyone in the community to reach out to me for advice. All communications will be strictly confidential.

Patty Trava, Community Liaison

For links to prior website/e-blast articles on the Community Liaison for the Municipal Alliance, click on the following links: