Weinberg Encourages Residents to Join ‘National Night of Conversation,’ Break the Silence on Drug Addiction

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, testifies during today’s Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing on A-1, the Assembly version of S-1, legislation that would establish marriage equality in New Jersey. The bill is sponsored in the Senate by the Senate Majority Leader along with Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union and Senate President Stephen P. Sweeney, D-Salem, Cumberland, Gloucester and in the Assembly by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, Assemblyman John McKeon, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell, Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski, and Assemblyman Tim Eustace.  The bill was released from the Committee with a vote of 5-2. The bill now heads to the full Assembly for consideration.


Dr. Oz Hosting Forum Tonight in West New York

TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg today encouraged residents to join this evening in “The National Night of Conversation,” an effort which aims to break the silence on drug addiction in homes across the country and inspire discussions around the dinner table about drug abuse prevention. Senator Weinberg introduced a resolution this week to designate an annual “Night of Conversation” in New Jersey each November.

“Drug addiction is a disease that has caused so much suffering for people living in our communities,” said Senator Weinberg. “The Legislature is taking steps to address this problem through education, prevention and treatment, but we know that ending the drug addiction epidemic will also require help from families in our state. Tonight we are encouraging residents to break the silence in their homes about this deadly disease and to have a conversation about the very real dangers involved with drug abuse. This is part of the effort to make sure that our loved ones, and particularly children and teens, are protected.”

The National Night of Conversation (NNOC) was organized through a partnership between the Dr. Oz Show, Facing Addiction and Drugs Over Dinner, along with their affiliated organizations. Dr. Oz will lead a forum tonight at Memorial High School in West New York, one of 42 schools across the country which has a Healthcorps coordinator on staff to teach wellness-related classes. Healthcorps is a nonprofit formed by Dr. Oz which teaches mental resilience in high schools. The forum will address the addiction crisis and answer questions from parents and families about drugs, and will be streamed live at www.doctoroz.com from 6 pm-7 pm. A parental discussion guide, developed in collaboration with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Council on Behavioral Health, among others, is also on the website.

“The first line of defense in saving lives from drug addiction is conversation, and families are the first responders,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show.  “I applaud our elected leaders for coming together on this common cause born out of urgency in my home state of New Jersey.”

Senator Weinberg’s joint resolution designates Nov. 19 of each year (or the Thursday one week before Thanksgiving if the 19th falls on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday) as the “Night of Conversation” in New Jersey.  In observance, schools, community organizations, youth organizations, and faith-based and secular groups will participate in drug abuse prevention activities and provide the public with information on where to find reliable information and where to access help or care. An empty dinner plate will serve as the universal symbol for eternal recognition of the Night of Conversation, and will symbolize that on this evening, the focus is on discussion and not food.

The resolution, which was introduced Monday, is attached.