MIDDLESEX, NJ – Two Middlesex County musicians have been named finalists in the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey's (PDFNJ) New Jersey Shout Down Drugs competition.  Wild card finalist, Lucas Espada, a sophomore at East Brunswick High School, will perform his song “Riding Clean” at the Prevention Concert on May 25.  East Brunswick residents and friends are encouraged to vote for Lucas at the contest website http://www.shoutdowndrugs.com/contestants/profile/250/.

The message behind "Riding Clean" is that using drugs is never a viable option. "It's the story of a kid who had everything, who never made a mistake.  In a time of stress, he turned to drugs, and drugs destroyed his life, " says Espada.  "I have seen kids at East Brunswick High School go down a very bad path.  Kids who have a lot going for them."

Espada also has a keen interest in soccer, which he hopes to pursue professionally.  He has played for the Matchfit Academy and the Philadelphia Vision Academy, as well as  EBHS last year.  He is active in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA,) having recently participated in the organization's state conference.  He is interested in "ideas that change things."  He is developing a buisness plan for a soccer-training program called Project 10,000.  "I based the project on Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers."  Principal double bass player in EBHSl Chamber Orchestra, Lucas says that he receives inspiration from a desire to make a difference. 

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30 students were selected as finalists in the music competition. The initiative challenges high school students to create original music with lyrics that contain powerful peer-to-peer substance abuse prevention messages. The finalists, selected through an online vote and judging panel, represent 14 New Jersey counties and will compete for $10,000 in music contracts.

The public can vote for Espada’s songs on www.shoutdowndrugs.com. This site features profiles of this year’s finalists and allows the public to cast votes for their favorite songs. These results will be factored into the finalists’ scores on the night of the concert.

Lucas Espada will perform “Riding Clean” at the 12th Annual New Jersey Shout Down Drugs music concert presented by the New Jersey Broadcasters' Association on May 25, 2016, at the Rutgers University Nicholas Music Center in New Brunswick. The Master of Ceremonies will be 1450 WCTC radio talk show host Bert Barron.

Tickets are free of charge, but must be reserved at www.ShoutDownDrugs.com or 973-467-2100 x19.