It’s no secret that we are in the midst of the worst heroin epidemic this country has ever seen. Unfortunately, losing your family, your home, and your health insurance are problems often associated with this disease.
Treatment agencies, including detox, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) and residential facilities cost money. We believe that everyone who wants to get well should have a fighting chance even if they can’t pay for it.
It is our hope that by creating designated license plates to support Addiction Recovery in NJ, we can defray some of the costs and fund programs for people who can’t afford treatment on their own.
The sale of special interest license plates in N.J. has made a significant difference in supporting various groups and causes. If you have a loved one suffering from a substance use disorder or if you know someone who is dealing with this disease, please sign this petition in hopes that we can get this designated license plate approved by Governor Christie.
Yesterday, I stood with Governor Christie at the State House for the signing of Senate Bill 3 below that will change the way prescription drugs are dispensed in NJ. Also, great news about insurance ..... Please watch! By the way, he gave me one of the pens he used to sign:)
It's a bi-partisan measure which requires health insurance coverage for treatment of substance abuse disease as well as providing the country’s strongest maximum limit of five days on initial opioid prescriptions Watch the video here:
Isolation and fear is common when you are facing addiction issues. You don’t want anyone to know that it’s your kid, your husband, your wife that has a substance use disorder. The thought of the words leaving your lips and possibly being judged or pitied is sometimes too much. Take it from me, I get it, I experienced it. The relief of finally being able to say the words and ask for help is so freeing. Share your fears and your pain. Let others in to support you. You will be surprised how many people share your story. Resources will open up for you. Don’t let the stigma get in the way of your finding options to help your loved one. Focus on wellness not the illness.
Some of my dearest friends are people that I have met during our journey. They’ve listened to me cry, shared my joy and accomplishments, they’ve counseled me when I needed to make decisions, offered advise and let me know that it’s ok to feel, but better to take action.
Today I’m thinking of all the empowering men and woman that I know who have either beaten all odds or achieved greatness through hard work, or they've fought for something or someone to make a positive change.
Some like me, who have completely changed their career path to help their family and then went on to help others by speaking publicly and advocating for others.
I'm proud to say that I have met and worked with many men and women who have fought for what they believe in. They have brought awareness to this heroin epidemic by educating the public, sharing their stories, fighting for policy change and by doing so, helped reduce the stigma associated with it.
Kudos to all the people out there who don't give up, who find solutions instead of problems and who don't take no for an answer!
The people who found the power when they felt powerless and used this horrifying journey as an opportunity to become better, stronger not paralyzed by the fear. I salute you!
Thank you to these men and women. The ones I have inspired and ones who have inspired me and who have mentored me. It's all about the fellowship, support, strength and growth both personally and professionally.
You can do this too. You’re in for the fight of your life. Don’t be afraid to reach out! Get out of your comfort zone and share the good and bad. Don’t do this alone.
On January 10th, 2017, I was invited by Governor Christie to attend the State of the State Address in Trenton.
He listed a buffet of initiatives regarding New Jersey's substance use epidemic. I'm honored to be listed as one of the resources on the new website www.reachnj.gov. There are many useful links on this site for families seeking help.
Here is what he said:
The website will put addiction information in one place and help eliminate the question families often face when seeking help – where do I go? Who do I turn to?
It will enhance public awareness regarding treatment options, provide insurance guidance, identify locations of state licensed rehabilitation facilities for children and adults, and share information on employment support programs for those in recovery. The website will include updates on the programs being offered by state agencies, and list private and nonprofit contact information.
One website and one phone number to help guide people through what can be a daunting bureaucracy, especially for those in crisis. We cannot reach those in need if the path to help is confusing. We will launch an aggressive public relations campaign to inform every family in need where they can go for help. After today, you can dial 1-844-REACH-NJ or go to: www.reachnj.gov
To see the full list of initiatives that the Governor plans to roll out and to view the 2017 address, you can click here: nj.gov/governor/news/addresses/2010s/approved/20170110c.html
Sometimes as parents, we forget that our children emulate what they see and hear. I babysat my 16-month-old grandson yesterday and he grabbed everything in sight. I threw my hands up and laughed and said Grrrrrrr only to watch him say and do exactly the same thing. I put my slippeers on, he wanted to put them on, I wiped the counter, he wanted the sponge to wipe it. He repeats everything, including gestures and noises. It made me painfully aware that I better watch my every move around him!
One of my daughters is in recovery from a 50 bag a day heroin substance use disorder. It started with alcohol, then marijuana. I found a bottle of vodka in her soccer bag at 15 years old. I don’t know for sure if I could have prevented it, but being informed and educated on the risk factors and protective factors may have given me the insight to recognize and to know the signs and symptoms of abuse.
Our family loves to entertain, especially during the holidays. All the parties are at our house. Thinking back, a lot of the “celebrating” revolved around drinking. Children watch our every move and associate drinking with adults having a good time. They also see when you come home from a long tough day, that you might say things like “ Wow…. What a day! So stressful! As you pour yourself a glass of wine.
Our children will imitate us and think, that’s what I should do to have a good time or relieve my stress!
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a glass of wine. I’m saying that you should drink responsibly and be careful how you present yourself in front of your kids.
During this holiday season make the effort; Talk to your children. Help reduce the risk of underage drinking. Help reduce the risk of future alcohol and drug problems. Be mindful that they are soaking up every little thing that you do and say. Remember, Monkey See, Monkey Do!
Have a safe, healthy, happy and peaceful New Year!J
Say what you want about the Governor, but on December 21, 2016, this is what he said at this beautiful vigil.
"I will not stand for the idea that any soul is irredeemable," the Republican governor said at the candlelight vigil for those struggling with and those who have perished because of addiction. "Everyone has the ability to fight back from this disease, but we have to give them the tools to do it."
Some of the comments from the public were negative. I'm proud of my daughter for commenting the following:
Laura Diana It's really very sad how many negative comments I'm reading. This man took the time to have a candle lighting for the millions and millions of people who suffer from addiction. And as an addict, I have the right to say that none of us "chose" this way of life. It was something that just happened.
There are so many people who have lost their lives, their loved ones, or even themselves to drugs or alcohol. Had I known the first time that I got high that my life would turn into something so terrible I can't even put into words, I would have NEVER done it. It wasn't until years later, when I realized that years had gone by and saw the horrible place it led me to, that I realized that I had a problem that was beyond my own control. And at that point it, it's not a choice anymore. It took a lot of SUPPORT, a lot of strength, a lot of love, commitment, a lot of tears and heart ache, a lot of loss, pain, and suffering for me to regain control of myself. But that's what it took. That's what gave me a "choice."
Without people like Governor Christie, people who are trying to make a difference and give people hope, we have no choice. And we have no hope. He is trying to express how insane this has become and he is trying to make a point. Everyone deserves a chance to get help for themselves or their loved ones. Everyone deserves a "choice." But some people don't get one. No one should be turned away when they finally choose to get help because making a decision like that for someone like us is very hard. And if we make that decision and are denied help because we don't have enough money, or our addiction isn't "bad enough," I'm sure that will be the last time we try. I have no problem identifying myself as an addict, because I am an addict and I always will be. However, I am also a PERSON. I'm a daughter, a sister, an employee, a student, a friend, a libra, an artist, and a bunch of other things.
So for people who want to rip on this man for trying to do something good, something that matters, shame on you. This isn't for you, and I'm truly saddened that you felt the need to post your negativity on something so beautiful. I may be an addict, but you're just ignorant. If you have nothing nice to say, then keep your comments to yourself.
And to everyone else, if you know someone who is suffering from addiction, make sure they know you love them, and they know that they will have your support. It means everything.
Thank you Governor Christie, for trying to make a difference. For trying to help.
Laura Diana This was absolutely beautiful. I wish I could have been there
Laura Diana You looked beautiful 💕 And it's because of you that I am somebody today. You are my strength. I love you so much💕😊
Donna Pacicco DeStefano Laura Diana I love you so much. You did the hard work. I will always support you. You can count on me forever💕
Here is a video of the Vigil:
Today I spoke in Trenton at the State House with Governor Christie, Governor Mcgreevey, Senator Vitale, Kevin Meara and others who care about families who are suffering from addiction. A beautiful vigil for N J residents. Looking out at all the faces, seeing the fear, the hope, the strength, the pain, made me think back to my families own struggles.
I am happy to "Take A Stand" against addiction for my own family and for yours! I will continue to fight for you, advocate for you and pray WITH you in the new year. Please take advantage of the information and resources on my website. Awareness and education is key to a positive outcome.
God bless you and your families.
" "Let’s talk about “language”
Words can be very hurtful. For instance, saying someone is “Clean”, what? Opposed to “Dirty”
Saying someone is an “Addict” opposed to a person with a “Substance Use Disorder”
I’ve heard people refer to someone with a S.U.D. as “That Population” or “Those People”
I’ve heard others say, “What kind of Parents, or Home Life did this Kid have?
I’ve heard “ We Should Let Them all Die” “They will Never be Productive Members of Society”
I’ve heard “They Chose to do Drugs” They Just Don’t Want to Stop”
Even worse, there is the "Public Perception" of these beautiful human beings. I’ve heard words like; they are just a Junkie, Scum, Liar, Manipulator, Loser, Worthless, Selfish, Lazy, Pariah, Failure, Weak, Immoral, Irresponsible, Cursed, Hopeless, a Waste.
These are wonderful families fighting for normalcy, health and peace. To hear these things being said about them and their loved ones is gut wrenching and ignorant.
You never know someone’s story. As with any disease, there is always hope that someone will recover. Always hope for a brighter future. Over 23 million people can attest to that.
Try reaching out to these families. Ask how you can help. Support someone. Offer resources or a smile. Don’t judge. You’re blessed that you aren’t dealing with this…yet. I sincerely hope you never have to.
Let’s stop the stigma and stop the ignorance.
What if it were your kid?
: Cloud 9 and its new sibling. Cloud 10, are sold in herbal form for smoking and as a liquid, in eyedropper bottles. It is often consumed using vaporizing devices such as e-cigarettes or hookah pens. Side effects include hallucinations, aggressive/violent behavior, rapid heartbeat, sleepiness and nausea/vomiting.
The immediate effects of Cloud 9 mimic symptoms of cocaine, LSD, methamphetamine, and ecstasy use and include nausea, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, chest pain, irritability, dizziness, nosebleeds, and delusions. Users may also experience impaired impulse control and violent behavior.
The Dangers of the Synthetic Drug – Cloud-9
The times are changing, and there’s no doubt that drugs are changing with them. Only a few years ago, “synthetic drugs” (a.k.a. “designer drugs”) were limited to ecstasy and a handful of psychedelics. According to the UN’s Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment, there were 80 such drugs in 2008. Last year, that number had grown to 348. These drugs have caused some huge controversies. The “Miami Cannibal Attack” a few years ago was reported to involve “bath salts” (which turned out to be false). Now, a synthetic drug called “Cloud-9” has been linked to the hospitalizations of 6 teenagers.
What’s Cloud-9?There are a couple of drugs that go by this name. It’s the brand name of one strain of synthetic marijuana. However, the Cloud-9 (a.k.a. “Ivory Wave”) that has been making headlines is something else entirely. It’s part of the drugs that have been known as “bath salts”. Most bath salt drugs aren’t actually bath salts, but they’re called so because they look like the Epsom salts people use to take a relaxing soak. Ironically, Ivory Wave is actually sold as bath salts!
The Story of Cloud-9Like most synthetic drugs, Cloud-9 is sold for purposes other than getting high. While some drugs are incense, this is bath salt. One way or another, drug users figured out that they could get high on it, and now we know why: chemical tests have revealed that it contains the substance methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), although it’s not listed on the ingredients.
What are the Effects of Cloud-9/MDPV?MPDV is a cathionine, a class of drugs that have come to be known as “bath salts”. When taken it functions similarly to MDMA (ecstasy) and stimulants. Its desired effects include:
Check out the link from Forbes.com below for more information.