Here is the link we promised for the Inside Edition segment, "Hidden In Plain Sight" that P.I.C.K. did with Tim McMahon, Special Agent for the N..J. DEA. Please watch it and learn where your kids could potential hide drugs. Stay aware, Be Smart and remember....The Snooping Rule Goes Out the Window if You Suspect Drug Use!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pick Awareness had the opportunity to participate in the program "Hidden In Plain Sight, that the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) been doing for N. J. parents and communities. This program will be featured on Inside Edition at a later date to inform folks on where, how and why to search for drugs and alcohol in the home
The setting took place in my home, specifically in my daughters bedroom and bathroom. Tim McMahon, Special Agent from the DEA was approached by the television show, Inside Edition to see if the DEA would be interesting in being featured on the show to highlight their program to show just how easy it is for adolescents to bring and hide drugs in the home.
The Inside Edition team came to my house along with Brian Alzate (Owner) and Chris LiVolsi (Director of Admissions) from United Recovery Project in Florida (unitedrecoveryproject.com) Brian, who has been in recovery himself for over 10 years made mock bags of drug and foil pieces to use as props. Tim McMahon brought a variety of objects and commonly used drugs and paraphernalia that could be used to hide substances. They hid the objects in various places and myself along with Karen Stout, a friend of mine who has three teenage daughters herself, agreed to try searching for the drugs. Karen wanted to use this as a learning opportunity to stay informed and help other parents who may need guidance.
Pick Awareness will post when this segment will be aired. Please see photo's below from the Inside Edition shoot and check out PickAwareness's page, "Hiding Places" for our take on tips www.pickawareness.com/hiding-places.html.
Special Agent Timothy McMahon can be reached at the below email if anyone would like to bring this program to their school or community: (Timothy.P.McMahon@usdoj.gov)
Please remember if you should suspect drug use of any kind, the snooping rule goes out the window! Search away! You know your child better than anyone. If you notice anything different it's better to be safe then sorry.
Check these signs and symptoms of Drug Use, from The Partnership for a Drug Free N.J.: www.drugfreenj.org/signsandsymptoms/
Bill A5061, also Bill S3552 to implement NJ "Support Recovery" License Plates unanimously passed through the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. It went on to unanimously pass through the full Assembly. Unfortunately we have to re-introduce this bill because we ran out of time during this session. We will not stop until this is passed.
For those who want to know why I'm advocating for this, here is the testimony that I gave.
“The P.I.C.K. Awareness Act”
Re: Bill A-5061, & Bill S-3552, N.J. “Support Recovery” License Plates
Dear Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee,
Good Morning and thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
I am here today to testify and to ask you to consider bill A5061, now bill S3552 and vote in favor to pass this through.
As you know, addiction happens behind the most beautiful doors. Because of a Substance Use Disorder with one of my daughters, I started a non-for profit, Parents in Connection for Kids, Inc., commonly known as P.I.C.K. Awareness.
I am a special state officer and 2nd Co-Vice Chair on the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. Prior to that, I was the Director of Community Relations for RWJ Barnabas Health, Institute for Prevention and prior to that I was the Director of the Prevention Coalition of Monmouth County under Prevention First. I also serve on various committees and coalitions statewide advocating for these efforts. I not only have personal experience with this disease, I am on the forefront, advocating, educating, training and crying with families dealing with this disease.
Because of my advocacy, passion and idea, Bill A-5061 was introduced. It is a bipartisan effort by Assemblyman Sean Kean and Assemblyman Joseph Egan. N.J. “Support Recovery” License Plates, if passed will bring a sorely needed sustainable funding model that will reduce homelessness as a barrier to recovery and provide sober living to indigent clients in an emergent or crisis situation suffering from this disease. It will raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with substance use disorders.
The monies will be allocated to The Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Specialty license plates have brought in huge amounts of money to various causes, some such as the Battleship plate and the Shore to Please plate have brought in $480,000.00 per year! This money will help fight this epidemic, defray some of the cost and best of all it’s sustainable! No applying for future one-year grants and as a bonus… no taxpayer money to initiate or sustain it.
I have met the DMVC’s criteria for passing this bill. I have over 750 signatures, and thanks to Thomas DeFelice III from Circle BMW, also a member of NJCar’s (New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Dealers) Next Gen Group and Jim Appleton, President of NJCar, a donation of $50,000.00 was given to cover the production of the plates and application fees. This bill also has bipartisan legislative support. I’ve even provided the designed the plate prototype.
As you are the committee, I’m asking that you please vote yes to move this bill through so it receives the attention it deserves, helps this population in it’s recovery efforts and passes through to Senate for consideration.
New Jersey has been on the forefront of this epidemic. This bill is already getting attention from other states. Organizations are reaching out to me to see how they can implement this in their state. As you know, we are in a public health emergency regarding opioids. There is a real urgency to help this population and to save lives. As always, New Jersey is, has and should be first on this initiative.
I have included some of the heart wrenching comments attached to this testimony that some of the signatures advocating for this bill have included and a copy of the proposed design.
In closing, I’d like to share the definition of recovery support services according to the DMHAS (Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services)
Recovery support services are non-clinical services that assist individuals and families to recover from alcohol and drug problems. They include social support, linkage to service providers and a full range of human services that facilitate recovery and wellness to an improved quality of life.
Please visit my website, pickawareness.com to learn about my organization and how we help families.
Thank you for your anticipated help in this matter.
Donna DeStefano, Founder and CEO
Yesterday I went to the State House in Trenton to attend the 2017 Vigil. So many wonderful people came to honor those struggling with addiction and to honor and pray for those who lost their fight. Governor Christie urged everyone to continue using their voice and fight for their loved ones. Our voice must be heard! There were many wonderful speakers last night. A heart warming tribute, prayers and music along with candles that were provided by the Governor. We have to support each other, offer help and resources. Let's reduce the stigma by speaking out.
See article here: www.nj.com/expo/Dkky-2017/12/b54e3071098d0ea829a4/index.html
Thank you Jesse Armstead, Erik Coleman, Antonio Pierce, and Vance Johnson for coming and speaking out about addiction. It meant so much to the families!
Last Monday I testified at the Assembly Transportation Committee in Trenton to urge them to vote yes on the passage of NJ Support Recovery License Plates, Bill A5061 & Senate Bill S3552. It was unanimously passed! Next step is the Senate vote!
See Press Release below:
Legislation (A5061) sponsored by Assemblyman Sean T. Kean creating a special support recovery license plate to provide housing assistance funding for people who have completed substance abuse treatment was unanimously approved today by the Assembly Transportation Committee.
Sean Kean“Special license plates are a way to champion a cause and generate much needed revenue,” said Kean (R-Monmouth). “A support recovery license plate will demonstrate support for anyone touched by drug addiction and help fund needed housing.
“This bill will help reduce homelessness as a barrier to recovery,” Kean continued. “It will also provide a sustainable funding source for people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction and provide them with access to a sober living environment. This will help reduce relapse and break the cycle of addiction. ”
Donna DeStefano, a local resident whose daughter is in recovery, suggested the license plate to Kean. DeStefano is the founder and CEO of Parents in Connection for Kids, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides substance abuse treatment resources and referrals to parents of children with alcohol and drug addictions.
The license plates will serve as a visible sign of support to those impacted by the opioid epidemic.
Bill A5061 is now a Senate Bill! Bill S3552 for N.J. Support Recovery License Plates! Not only will this bring funding to Sober Living and reduce Homelessness, this will help bring awareness to and help break the stigma of Substance Use Disorders.
There is still time to sign this bill to show your support!
Click here to sign: www.change.org/p/governor-chris-christie-nj-license-plates-to-support-addiction-recovery/u/21987508
Last August I went to the Drug Court graduation in Ocean County. It’s the fourth one that I have gone to. I love going for many reasons, but mostly because as I look around the room, I see the transformation of not only the people who graduated that day, but also the pride and joy in the many people who were involved in making it happen.
That includes the entire Drug Court team, the Department of Corrections, The Freeholders, The Sheriff’s Department, the Judges, Treatment Providers, and the many family members and friends who came to cheer them on and support them.
This last time I saw 36 people who would have been incarcerated, institutionalized or who could have died as a result of their addiction, graduate and reclaim their lives.
I heard stories and testimonials from graduate speakers of the lives they had during active addiction and how if not given this choice, this gift, things would have ended badly. They now had steady jobs; some have gotten married, and had children. Some started their own business, reunited with families who had previously written them off. Some have regained custody of their children, some have had their records expunged, they’ve paid off their fines and they had negative drug tests the entire time!
Drug Courts are the most effective justice intervention for treating drug-addicted people. Drug Courts reduce drug use. Drug Courts reduce crime. Drug Courts save money. Drug Courts restore lives. Drug Courts save children and reunite families.
This system can and does work. It keeps families together. It cuts down on taxpayer money because the person is not incarcerated. Most of the time the person is a criminal because of their addiction. Stealing or using is all just survival for them at the time.
Unfortunately, if you have a violent crime of any kind you are not eligible for drug court. If your high and you get into an altercation with someone and use a weapon of any kind, even a screwdriver, you will be denied even if it was a threat and no-one got hurt.
Many people do extreme things; most times illegal and even immoral to make sure they get their drugs. They’re in situations where they deal drugs to fund their own habit. These addicted people need treatment not jail. It shouldn’t be so cut dry. If the person is high they are obviously not operating with a clear head. Most have underlying mental health issues and trauma. I feel the non- violent rule should be evaluated on a case by case basis before the person is sent to prison. If no-one was hurt, if the “victim” is a known drug dealer and the person feared for their life, are some examples of consideration. “ My two cents”
I was proud to stand with Governor Christie this morning at Integrity House in Newark. His latest press conference announcing the $200 million dollar allocation of additional funds to launch 25 much needed programs to fight our state's opioid epidemic.
His continued efforts to assist those struggling with addiction and recovery will help many families reclaim their lives. The funds will be used to either create or enhance current programs. Some of the programs that will benefit from the funds are: recovery coach programs, residential treatment for pregnant woman and new mothers, supportive housing, Campus programs for colleges, education for obstetrician's, recovery high schools and much more. For more info and the video of the Governor's address click here:
Overdose Awareness Day is tomorrow. I am reposting this message because I can't think of a better way to say it. Another year, many more lives lost. Please reach out to people who need help. Break the Stigma!
I know so many families who've lost a loved one or friend to an overdose including myself. With all the prevention efforts, narcan trainings and distribution, town hall meetings, seminars and forums, recovery specialists intervening at the hospital and a multitude of informational efforts, it's sad to think that we actually have this day on the calendar.
On the other hand, it's a wonderful tribute to all the beautiful souls who have fought the battle of addiction, but ultimately lost. It's a reminder that Substance Use Disorder is a disease that is at epidemic proportions and if you have it you and your family are in for the fight of your lives.
It's also a reminder that it it is a treatable disease. Over 23 million people who are in recovery can attest to that.
On August 31, 2017 take a moment and do what you can to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of Substance Use Disorder. Reach out to grieving families and help them heal. Talk to those suffering because they are human beings who need help not judgement. That's what this day is all about.
N.J. "Support Recovery" License Plates has been introduced! Bill# A-5061. This bill if passed will bring sorely needed funding to recovery support services. Please urge your Legislator to vote YES!
Find your legislator here:
See press release here:
If you'd like to sign the petition you can do it here. We have a total of 675 signatures total from online and hand signed petitions.