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