So Goodbye to Secondhand Smoke at the Beach!

Posted by on Jul 24, 2018 in Updates | 0 comments

On Friday, July 20th, Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into law that officially bans smoking at most of New Jersey public beaches and parks at the state, county, and municipal levels.  The bill S-2534 which will go into effect in 180 days (January 2019), passed the Senate, 32-1, and the Assembly by 66-1 with two abstentions, expands the “New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act of 2006” which bans smoking in indoor public settings.  Sponsors of the bill include Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senators Vin Gopal and Bob Smith and Assembly members Vincent Mazzeo, Clinton Calabrese, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Paul Moriarty.

Towns and counties would create designated smoking areas that could constitute no more than 15 percent of the beach; parking lots adjacent to beaches or parks would not be subject to the ban.  The bill authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), towns and counties to take measures to educate the public about the smoking ban and associated penalties for violators, who would be fined $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense, and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

“The Jersey Shore has always been one of our state’s – and nation’s – great natural treasures, and a place for families to enjoy,” said Governor Murphy. “Signing this legislation demonstrates my firm commitment to protecting our environment and public health while preserving the quality and cleanliness of our public beaches and park areas.”

Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester), one of the sponsors, said, “This is an issue that impacts the environmental quality of the Jersey Shore, the health of beach-goers exposed to second-hand smoke, the quality of life for residents and visitors, and ultimately, the economic well-being of Shore communities. We don’t want our beaches littered with cigarette butts, the air polluted with smoke or the ocean wildlife exposed to threat of discarded cigarettes.”

Lawmakers had been trying to ban beach smoking for the last four years, but encountered opposition under the administration of then-Governor Chris Christie.  In July 2014, a bill that would have banned smoking in state parks and limited smoking on beaches overwhelmingly passed the legislature, but Christie vetoed it. Two years later, the governor issued a conditional veto to a renewed smoking ban, prohibiting the practice at New Jersey’s two state-owned beaches while allowing towns to determine their own restrictions.

According to the American Lung Association, more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. In New Jersey, tobacco use takes the lives of nearly 12,000 residents every year.

Tobacco use is a significant public health threat and a high-risk factor for many diseases, including lung cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart disease, stroke and asthma. The use of electronic smoking devices may also pose a health risk due to their smoke vapors. In addition, exposure to second-hand smoke is a health hazard for a majority of the non-smoking public and can lead to illness and premature death.

Furthermore, results of the 2017 beach sweep by Clean Ocean Action showed that the litter collected by volunteers last year contained more than 29,000 cigarette butts, more than 1,150 lighters, nearly 1,900 empty cigarette packs and 7,172 cigar tips. Cigarette butts threaten marine wildlife as a choking hazard and are capable of leeching deadly toxins.

One thing the bill did not address was who would be responsible for enforcing the ban.  The bill does not specify whether lifeguards, police officers, or others will enforce the ban.  Citing their primary mission to save lives of individuals in the water, Governor Murphy said lifeguards should not enforce the law, but he left it to municipalities to determine enforcement measures.

Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy, or GASP, said that more than half of New Jersey’s more than 500 communities already restrict smoking and vaping on their beaches or in their parks.

To read more about the bill’s passage, visit https://www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562018/approved/20180720a.shtml or https://patch.com/new-jersey/pointpleasant/nj-gov-phil-murphy-signs-smoking-beach-ban-law

Since July 2012, New Jersey regional chronic disease coalitions funded through a grant from the New Jersey Department of Health Office of Cancer Control and Prevention (OCCP) tobacco control organizations such as New Jersey GASP and New Jersey Prevention Network and many others, have worked on the facilitation of no-smoking ordinances, and their efforts along with the perseverance of state legislators have culminated in the signing of a bill that will protect the health and welfare of its residents.

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Pascrell Announces $50,000 in Drug Prevention Grants: Federal grants will fund community initiatives in Hudson County to combat substance abuse

Posted by on Jul 3, 2018 in Updates | 0 comments

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) announced today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $50,000 to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) of Hudson County to assist the organization in combatting youth substance abuse. The grant was made available through the Community-Based Coalition Enhancement Grants to Address Local Drug Crisis Program.

“The opioid epidemic has been a plague on families and communities throughout our country,” said Rep. Pascrell. “We must do everything we can on the federal level to secure the resources necessary to combat this problem head-on. This grant money will help NCADD bolster its efforts in Hudson County to protect our communities from the harmful impacts of opioid and substance abuse. I am always committed to seeing that Garden State towns and cities receive every penny of federal resources that they need to tackle our most pressing problems. As long as this epidemic persists, I will continue to fight for funding that will directly support local efforts to address opioid abuse and misuse in our communities.”

“The CARA grant broadens our coalition’s efforts to decrease the misuse of prescription medications in Hudson County,” said Yaisa Coronado, Program Director for Hudson County Coalition and Associate Executive Director for Partners in Prevention. “We will utilize this funding to implement environmental strategies that bring awareness and impact change by partnering with health professionals, law enforcement, and other community leaders.  We appreciate this opportunity to increase our prevention services and thank the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for the award and Congressman Pascrell for his support of this grant.”

“This grant will go a long way in combatting opioid and substance abuse in our community,” said Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli. “I want to thank NCADD of Hudson County for their work on this important issue and Congressman Pascrell for his efforts in making this grant possible.”

“We need to recognize the seriousness of the opioid crisis and that addiction and substance abuse are health issues of great concern in our communities.  The drug prevention grants are vital towards combating this epidemic,” said Kearny Mayor Alberto G. Santos.

Background on CARA

The Community-Based Coalition Enhancement Grants to Address Local Drug Crisis Program was created by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016, which was strongly supported by Rep. Pascrell. The goal of this program is to prevent and reduce the abuse of opioids or methamphetamines and the abuse of prescription medications among youth ages 12-to-18 in communities throughout the United States.

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May 16th Event

Posted by on Apr 27, 2018 in Updates | 0 comments

Join us for a night of discussion about topics centered around substance prevention!  Hudson County Coalition will be hosting a Hidden in Plain Sight and Professional Panel Discussion during National Prevention week, moderated by Assemblywoman Angela McKnight!  The event will be held at the Bayonne Library (see below for directions).

Come experience a “Hidden in Plain Sight” presentation for the first time in Hudson County.  This presentation guides you through a mock teenager’s bedroom to explain various substance use trends, signs, symptoms, and lingo in an effort to bring awareness and local resource options.

Following the presentation, there will be a panel of experts and specialists in the field, such as law enforcement, counselors, healthcare professionals, amongst others, sharing their expertise with you.  The panelists will be available for any questions you may have.

Please register for the event above as drinks and light refreshments will be served!

 DON’T FORGET TO REGISTER!

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Permanent Drop Boxes in Hudson County

Posted by on Apr 25, 2018 in Updates | 0 comments

This Saturday, April 28th, is nationally recognized as DEA’s Take Back Day.  Pharmacies, police departments, amongst other locations across the country participate in the collection of unwanted medications.  This effort is to help reduce substance misuse.

 

In case you are unable to participate this Saturday, the following locations have permanent drop boxes that are accessible 24 hours. Contact us to learn more and/or discuss the possibility of bringing one to your department!  If you are looking for a location elsewhere in New Jersey, click here.

 

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Hudson County Coalition in the News!

Posted by on Apr 13, 2018 in Updates | 0 comments

Hudson County Coalition for a Drug-Free Community has been featured in the Jersey Journal for our ongoing efforts to reduce underage drinking in Hudson County!  See below for the article or click here.

Put to test for second year, how did Bayonne liquor stores fare on ID checks?

Bayonne liquor stores are getting better about checking customers’ identification, but there is still work to be done, according to study down by the Hudson County Coalition for a Drug-Free Community (HCCDFC).

Since 2013 the HCCDFC has chosen a day geared around a popular holiday or big event to conduct a mini sting on liquor stores to investigate if they are properly checking IDs on their young clientele.

The organization sends out a person who is old enough to purchase alcohol to 10 liquors stores in a municipality — in this case Bayonne, a few days before the Super Bowl. The person sent by the HCCDFC is always outfitted in a college sweatshirt to indicate they may be too young to purchase liquor.

The legal drinking age is 21 and if a store is cited four times for serving alcohol to a person under 21, the liquor license may be revoked.

In 2017, seven of 10 liquor stores visited prior to Super Bowl Sunday failed to check the ID of the HCCDFC volunteer. This year, also prior to the Super Bowl, only four of the same 10 stores failed to check the person’s identification, a significant improvement.

The HCCDFC has prioritized underage drinking as a major public health concern because of some of its obvious consequences — violence, driving while intoxicated, alcohol poisoning and high-risk behavior.

HCCDFC officials said it hopes the informal assessment continues to promote the need to implement a policy of checking ID on any customer who appears to be under the age of 30.

Along with local police departments, the Hudson County Coalition offers free Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAMs) trainings to liquor store owners and employees. The training is nationally recognized as the leading program for responsible serving.

The HCCDFC first began the initiative in 2013. At that time there was a 73 percent ate of noncompliance among the randomly selected stores in the communities of West Hudson. By 2015, the nincompliance rate had dropped to 21 percent.

For more information about the Hudson County Coalition for a Drug-Free Community, please visit our website at www.hudsoncountycoalition.org.

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