The New Campaign Encourages Vital Family Communication Regarding
the Opioid Epidemic and COVID-19 Pandemic
MILLBURN, NJ — The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) today announced the unveiling of a new public health campaign featured in Times Square that is reminding families to talk to their children and communicate about the two life-threatening public concerns – the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid epidemic.
Located at 11 Times Square, the digital billboard emphasizes the importance of wearing a mask amid the pandemic, while also highlighting communication that is crucial for families. Regular conversation between parents and children can help establish a healthy lifestyle free of drug and alcohol misuse and abuse by providing children a healthy outlet to express their concerns and alleviate stress.
“We are learning how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the opioid epidemic,” said Elaine Pozycki, Chairperson for PDFNJ. “The CDC’s recommendation to wear a mask is an important way to stop the spread of the coronavirus. We wanted to create a campaign that would address this critical message, as well as bring awareness to the surging cases of substance use disorder and how families can protect their children.”
The pandemic has changed lifestyles over the course of the last six months. Increased stress, anxiety and isolation have caused overdose deaths to surge in New Jersey and across the country. In 2019, more than 3,000 people in New Jersey died of a drug overdose, a majority of which involved some form of opioid. In 2020, New Jersey overdose deaths have risen 17 percent.
PDFNJ research has shown that communication between parents and children is a key component to preventing youth from experimenting with substance use. Parents who have discussions with their children for at least 15 minutes a day have children who are 67 percent less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol.
“We hope that PDFNJ’s new campaign will make an impact on families, especially during these stressful times we are all facing,” PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente said.
This new campaign is also being displayed on PATH trains, as well as at New Jersey Turnpike and Parkway service plazas.
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 $100 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 180 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.