SENATE, No. 85






Sponsored by:


District 25 (Morris and Somerset)


District 25 (Morris and Somerset)






†††† Establishes grant program for school districts to establish substance abuse prevention programs for eighth grade students.



†††† As reported by the Senate Education Committee with technical review.

An Act concerning substance abuse education for public school students and supplementing chapter 40A of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.


†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


†††† †1.†† The Commissioner of Education shall establish a program to provide grants to school districts to finance a substance abuse prevention program for eighth grade students.† The substance abuse prevention program shall include the following two components:

†††† †a.††† a faculty and parent education component to raise the awareness levels of school staff and parents; sensitize them to issues surrounding substance abuse; and promote the success of the program by reinforcing their roles as stakeholders in the programís outcomes.† This component shall include workshops for the faculty and staff of the school district on the signs, symptoms, habits, behavioral patterns, social conditions, and other factors that relate to substance abuse; and sessions to provide parents with knowledge and skills needed to help reduce the risk of children developing substance abuse problems; and

†††† †b.†† a student education component consisting of a four-phase approach to the problem of substance abuse.

†††† (1)†† The first phase shall consist of teenage residents of drug rehabilitation programs discussing with the students their own personal experiences with drug and alcohol abuse and the dangers of such abuse.

†††† (2)†† The second phase shall consist of an individual addressing the students who has personal family knowledge on the devastating effects of drug and alcohol abuse on young adults.† This personal address shall be accompanied by an appropriate video presentation that educates students on the dangers of substance abuse.

†††† (3)†† The third phase shall consist of minimum custody offenders from a State correctional facility speaking to the students about their personal experiences with drugs and alcohol, with the goals of reducing the use of drugs and alcohol by youths and promoting responsible decision-making as they face choices in their lives.† The discussion by the offenders shall include the crimes committed in which drugs and alcohol played a major role, the amount of time being served in prison, and what life is like while being incarcerated.

†††† (4)†† The fourth phase shall consist of a full day of interactions with positive role models from all facets of life.† Celebrities shall be invited to spend the day speaking with students about the success they have achieved by making positive choices and without resorting to drugs and alcohol.† This phase is the culminating phase of the program and shall occur at the end of the school year.

†††† 2.††† A school district which elects to participate in the grant program shall submit an application to the commissioner in such form as required by the commissioner.† The school district, as part of the application, shall certify that the districtís budget includes funds for the purpose of financing a substance abuse prevention program for eighth grade students.† The funds may be district funds, funds raised through individual, corporate, or other private sector donations, or federal funds.† The commissioner shall develop criteria for the evaluation of applications for grants.† Based upon the criteria developed by the commissioner, and within the limit of available appropriations, the commissioner shall allocate to each selected school district a grant in such amount as determined by the commissioner.


†††† 3.††† Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of section 1 of this act, no student shall be compelled to participate in the student education component of the program if the parent or guardian presents to the school principal a signed statement that the program is in conflict with the studentís conscience or sincerely held moral or religious beliefs, and no penalties as to credit or graduation shall result.


†††† 4.††† This act shall take effect immediately.