Study Finds NJ Parents Recognize their Role in Drug-Prevention

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STATE – When it comes to accessing drugs and alcohol, many New Jersey parents acknowledge that the main source for their children may be their own home.

More than 45% of New Jersey parents think their kids are getting alcohol out of their home liquor cabinet and three-quarters of parents feel that kids get prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of medicine cabinets, either from their own home or from a friend’s medicine cabinet, according to the finding of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ), who released the results of its 9th Annual Tracking Survey of Parents’ Attitudes & Behaviors Toward Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention.

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“The role of parents in their child’s decision to use and abuse drugs is once again confirmed through this research,” explained, Joseph A. Miele, chairman of PDFNJ. “The 2011 Tracking Survey of Parents’ Attitudes & Behaviors Toward Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention also found that New Jersey parents, by the simple act of eating a meal with their child, are creating an environment for their children to feel comfortable about approaching them with discussions about drugs and alcohol.

According to Miele, parents of families who eat 5-7 meals together per week continue to be more likely to feel they have a lot of influence on their child’s attitudes towards drugs and alcohol. He noted that this year, the gap between those sharing 5-7 meals and those sharing less widened for both drugs and alcohol.

Angelo Valente, Executive Director of PDFNJ, further explained that the study found that more New Jersey parents are realizing the growing dangers of prescription drug abuse and were encouraged by the PDFNJ’s public health campaign The American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC).

Seven in ten New Jersey parents reported seeing AMCC PSAs which encouraged them to take the 5-Step AMCC Challenge: securing their medicine cabinet, taking inventory of their prescription and over the counter medicine in the home, disposing of unused, unwanted and expired medicine, taking medicine exactly as prescribed, and talking to their children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

AMCC’s national day of disposal of unused, unwanted and expired medicine was held on Nov. 13, 2010, and in New Jersey, over two tons of medicine was collected. This year’s event will be held on Nov. 12.

Valente noted that 42% of New Jersey parents reported they currently still have unused, unwanted or expired medicine in their home, providing easy access to these dangerous and deadly drugs.

Barry M. Feinberg, Ph.D., Executive VP at GfK Roper said about the results “The current study clearly shows that New Jersey parents are well aware of the temptations that exist in their homes and what they can do to remove them. It also demonstrates that the parents understand the steps they can take to help their children resist and turn away from drug and alcohol abuse. The AMCC campaign will spread the word about things that parents can say and do in their families across New Jersey.”

The study also found New Jersey parents lack knowledge on ecstasy, inhalants, methamphetamines and heroin, however, the more frequent the exposure to drug prevention public service announcements (PSAs) the more aware they became about the risks of using drugs and alcohol and the more encouraged they became to speak with their children about the risks of using and abusing drugs. Seven in ten (69%) parents say they see or hear public service announcements telling them about the risks of drugs or alcohol at least one time per week.

Valente noted that PDFNJ is releasing a public service campaign designed to get the message out about the misconceptions and dangers of heroin abuse in July 2011.

Parents are also getting the message about the dangers of underage drinking, as 71% of parents of a 12 to 15 year old child said their child would never be allowed to drink when they are older in their late teens, up from 67% last year, and at the highest level since 2006.

PDFNJ commissions annual research projects conducted by firms and researchers, provides grant support to New Jersey scholars researching all substance abuse related issues, and acts as a central depository of information for all members of the New Jersey prevention community, government officials and the media to utilize. CPR works in cooperation with the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

PDFNJ commissioned GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, a leader in public affairs research for over three quarters of a century, to conduct a study to examine the attitudes of New Jersey parents pertaining to drug prevention. The PDFNJ Survey of Parents’ Attitudes & Behaviors toward Drug Prevention, an annual survey currently in its fifth year, polled a sample of 500 parents with children ages 12 to 15. The sample was randomly drawn from a listed sample and conducted between January 20, 2011- February 3, 2011. Data were weighted to New Jersey census data for key demographics of households with children ages 12-15. The margin of error at the 95% confidence level is +/- 5 percentage points for the total sample.

The complete survey results are available at www.drugfreenj.org/_modules/ study/2011_parenttrack.pdf.


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