Health & Wellness

Former Addict Tells Montville Parents About Opioids and Marijuana at DAC Lecture

65b5d39d77a57161b366_a_Michael_DeLeon__2018_TAPinto_Montville______1.JPG
Michael DeLeon ©2018 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
c620120abb5eef94975a_a_Michael_DeLeon__2018_TAPinto_Montville______2.JPG
Michael DeLeon ©2018 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
b8484cb3f98280e347e8_a_Michael_DeLeon__2018_TAPinto_Montville.JPG
Michael DeLeon ©2018 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
65b5d39d77a57161b366_a_Michael_DeLeon__2018_TAPinto_Montville______1.JPG

MONTVILLE, NJ – Gang member. Drug addict. Ex-con. These are labels that fit Michael DeLeon. But he knew his purpose after “God allowed him to come out of prison, land on his feet and live through what he’d lived through,” he told a group of parents at the Senior House at a Drug Awareness Council-sponsored lecture on Feb. 12.

DeLeon said God opened the “gates of hell,” which is what he called prison, and now he is going to spend the rest of his life trying to prevent kids from becoming like him.

“Drugs and alcohol changed my life forever,” he said.

Sign Up for E-News

DeLeon told the story of being abused by a priest as a child.

“Alcohol and drugs weren’t my problem,” he said. “They were how I escaped my problem.”

He said many of the addicts he has talked to shared stories of abuse as well, in addition to drinking alcohol at a young age.

DeLeon said 3,200 people died of a drug overdose in the state of New Jersey in 2017, “and we know more than 4,000 will die in 2018. Only 13% were from heroin.”

DeLeon said in 2020, a quarter million people will die in this country due to drugs.

“We’re not in the middle of an ‘opioid epidemic,’” he told the assembly. “We have an addiction pandemic. It goes so much deeper than heroin. And we’re not even scratching the surface of what needs to happen.”

DeLeon said there’s many drugs involved such as fentanyl and prescription pills.

“We can’t put our focus on one drug,” he said. “We’ve got to put our focus on the big problem.”

DeLeon said an example is that Christie signed into a law a “good bill,” in which only five days’ worth of opioid pain pills can be obtained from a dentist or doctor, but unfortunately on day five, a patient can call in and receive 30 more days’ worth. He had been asking for the five-day law since 2010 but now it’s too late because now fentanyl is available – and it’s quickly catching up to heroin in death numbers. DeLeon said many drug users start with pills – but the pills are going to be laced with fentanyl and are going to increase death rates. He said the Jersey shore is a hot market for drug dealers during prom season.

The Changing Face of Drug Addicts

DeLeon said that he wanted to make a documentary about the drug problem and the changing face of heroin, and producers told him “this is just a fad.”

DeLeon argued that no other epidemic had ever been created by the pharmaceutical industry, but couldn’t find anyone interested in sponsoring his film.

“I took my camera equipment to Camden and found someone to interview,” he said. “I found a woman who was salutatorian at her high school. She said ‘show them this.’ She looked like hell with track marks all up and down her arms. She looked haggard and much older than her 22 years. She died nine months later and the police told me she had lain there for three days. The movie is called ‘Kids are Dying.’ We have a problem, and it’s so much bigger than you think it is. We’re just seeing the beginning of this.”

DeLeon said the kids in that movie all had used nicotine, alcohol and marijuana at an early age. He calls them the “trifecta gateway.”

Against Marijuana Legalization

DeLeon says legalizing marijuana in New Jersey is a terrible idea because it is a way for politicians to tout the benefits of the tax money, but for kids to suffer the consequences.

“Your kids are the target,” he said. “They’re the target of the marijuana industry. Plus, now it’s in liquid or a mist and you’ll never smell it.”

He compared the lies he says that the marijuana industry is telling to the lies the tobacco industry told about nicotine addiction and the manufacturer of oxycontin told.

He then described his experience of buying marijuana in Colorado, having it tested, and discovering that it was several times stronger than the label described each brand to be. “Old-time” marijuana contained 5% THC. DeLeon purchased 42% THC marijuana in Colorado, and the lab found mold and pesticides in the samples. Further, he had no problem obtaining more marijuana than he was legally supposed to be able to purchase. In addition, 90% liquid THC can be obtained for vape pens.

“Marijuana is very different now,” he said. “I call is ‘Marijuana X.’ The advertising is targeted at kids and it’s not regulated by the FTC. And when perception of harm goes down, youth use increases. But marijuana hijacks the same reward pathways as opioids and attacks the cognitive function of the brain.”

DeLeon said marijuana wax is called dab and if you hear your kids talking about it, “you need to have a conversation.” Further, there’s no “breathalyzer” for marijuana. It requires a blood test to determine if a driver is driving under its influence, yet it’s out of the system in 3-4 hours, the time it takes to get the warrant to take the blood.

Connecting

DeLeon is a strong proponent of teens eating dinner with their parents five nights per week because “connection is important,” he said. He believes in it so much that he created a series of conversations to have with kids called TableTalks. The idea is to start conversations and open communication.  TableTalks are a resource of PDF presentations to spark discourse on self worth, coping mechanisms, risky behaviors and teen pressure.

“You are the most important influence in their lives,” according to the presentations, which amount to 260 conversations over 52 weeks.

“Connection is important, as well as coping skills,” DeLeon said. He advises parents to start talking about drugs and alcohol in third grade.

DeLeon is also a proponent of random drug testing as a deterrent for sixth, seventh and eighth graders. He opined that if this was done, and with a 24-point panel that included nicotine, “75% of the addiction in this country could be eliminated, because deterrence works in middle school.”

He also said he thought probably 50 to 60% of the juniors and seniors at Montville Township High School are vaping. He said nicotine stimulates the adolescent brain and changes its development. He will be coming out with a drug testing program on his website for parents to administer on their kids.

DeLeon said the biggest threats to New Jersey youth are:

  • Tobacco, “still the biggest gateway of them all, including vaping and cigarettes”
  • Alcohol, “always has been, always will be”
  • Prescription pills, “both legitimate and diverted”
  • Heroin, “cheap, widespread, adulterated and deadly”
  • Marijuana, “the lies, misconceptions, social acceptance and increasing potency – THC poison”
  • Methamphetamine, “it’s rising faster than any other illicit drug, throughout the Midwest, and now into the East Coast”
  • Synthetic cannibinoids (“spice”), “still available online and with crooked retailers, also Kratom and other synthetics”
  • Over-the-counter medicines and synthetic chemicals, overseas products

DeLeon said that regarding the cause of drug addiction, “blame is everywhere – and it’s going to take a lot of ‘ingredients’ to solve the problem.”

DeLeon is passionate about convincing parents to talk to their kids about drugs, and convincing kids not to start.

“All I want to do is talk to these kids so they don’t end up like me,” DeLeon told the assembly. “I’ll go anywhere and talk – I’ll talk to anyone.”

DeLeon can be found online at SteeredStraight.

Visit and read your exclusive Montville news at TAPinto Montville​ 24/7 for FREE: TAPinto​Montville​.net 

Sign up to receive FREE TAPinto news in your email inbox: www.tapinto.net/enews

Follow TAPinto on Twitter: @MontvilleTAP 

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MontvilleTAP/

​​Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Montville

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_ccf612db2e8a23ffc851_casa

Tue, July 17, 6:00 PM

CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties, Morristown

CASA Information Session

Education Giving Back Law & Justice

Carousel_image_8890cd6f948a2052375e_aaaaaaaaa

Tue, July 17, 7:00 PM

Amphitheater behind Montville Township Public Library, Montville

Concerts in the Park: The Chapel Concert Band

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_191dff81aa915d36e9bb_a_____montville_township_high_school__2018_tapinto_montville___1.

Tue, July 17, 7:30 PM

Montville Township High School , Montville

Montville Twp Board of Education Meeting

Education

Carousel_image_68b2c879fa7838715e5f_a___assembly_room_before_a_township_committee__2018_tapinto_montville___1.

Tue, July 17, 8:00 PM

Montville Township Municipal Building, Montville

Cable TV & Cable Communication Hearing/Twp Com Mtg

Government

Carousel_image_9facb75f0f692fbdd526_1_4h_boy_and_guinea_pig

Thu, July 19, 4:00 PM

Chubb Park, Chester Township

Morris County 4-H Fair

Arts & Entertainment

See What's Happening in Morris County's Community Gardens During "Open Gates" Weekend

July 11, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ –  On Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., explore what’s growing in your local community gardens at the Morris County Community Garden Open Gates Weekend.

The latest buzz surrounding food and health topics center on the growing number of community gardens across the country, as they foster civic engagement, offer support to local food ...

Montville Resident Honored by Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey

July 13, 2018

WAYNE, NJ – Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey held its Annual Meeting & Adult Recognition Program on May 9, at William Paterson University in Wayne, honoring more than 300 outstanding volunteers across northern New Jersey with more than 600 awards that recognized their donation of time, talent, and leadership in delivering the Girl Scout program to more than 25,000 girls in northern ...

Montville's Hero and POW Hjalmar Johansson Dies

July 1, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville resident and World War II prisoner of war Hjalmar Johansson died suddenly on June 30. He was 92.

Johansson was a nose gunner in the Air Force during WWII in a B-24 bomber aircraft. He was shot down during his first mission and then survived six months in a German prisoner of war camp. One of 17,000 prisoners, he was freed by the Russian forces. By that ...

Montville Township Public Schools Named National District of Character; Lazar Middle School Named National School of Character

July 12, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville Township Public Schools was one of only five districts in the nation to be named a 2018 National District of Character by Character.org, a nonprofit organization that validates character initiatives in schools and communities around the world. In addition, Montville Township Public Schools’ Robert R. Lazar Middle School has been named a 2018 National School ...

Prescription Drug Drop Installed at County Govt. Center in Morristown Offers Safe Disposal Site for Prescription Drugs

July 15, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ – Morris County employees and residents now have an additional location, inside the county government complex in Morristown, to safely and conveniently dispose of unwanted or leftover prescription drugs.

A new prescription drug drop box has been added to the lobby of the Morris County Administration and Records Building, which is located at 10 Court St. in Morristown, ...

Woman Struck by Car in Bridgewater Mall Parking Lot Dies

July 13, 2018

Bridgewater, NJ - A Bedminster woman has died from her injuries after she was struck by a car in the parking lot of the Bridgewater Commons Mall Monday.

Marion Kelley, 62, was struck by a vehicle while walking in lot four near the Macy's merchandise pick up area at around 3:20 p.m. Monday.

The 2017 Mazda was driven by Chinmayi Parikh, 33, of Piscataway.

The crash is still being ...

Jersey Central Power & Light Announces Program to Enhance Reliability for Electric Customers

July 14, 2018

Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) filed a four-year infrastructure plan today with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) aimed at enhancing the reliability and resiliency of its distribution system against severe weather and reducing the frequency and duration of power outages.

JCP&L Reliability Plus includes about $400 million in targeted investments ...

Columns

Declaration of Independence – What is it?

July 4, 2018

The definition of a free country is where the government does not control what people say or do for political reasons and where people can express their opinions without punishment. The transition from a totalitarian state to a free country will be long and slow.

In a 2017 report Freedom House said that of the 195 countries assessed, 87 (45%) were rated Free, 59 (30%) Partly Free, ...

OPEN HOUSES This Weekend July 14 & 15, 2018

The following homes have OPEN HOUSES presented by RE/MAX NEIGHBORHOOD PROPERTIES this weekend.

SATURDAY, JULY 14:

 From 12 - 2 p.m.

  4 Hickory Drive, Montville

  Click HERE to see full listing.

 

  From 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.

  25 Kanouse Lane, Montville

  Click HERE to see full listing.

 

 From 11 a.m. to 1 ...

OPEN HOUSES This Weekend July 7 & 8, 2018

The following homes have OPEN HOUSES presented by RE/MAX NEIGHBORHOOD PROPERTIES this weekend.

SUNDAY, JULY 8:

  From 1 - 4 p.m.

  63 Francine Avenue, West Caldwell

  Click HERE to see the Full Listing.

 

  From 12 - 2 p.m.

  11A Oklahoma Avenue, Montville

  Click HERE to see the Full Listing.

 

Century 21 Open Houses This Weekend

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are the Century 21 Open Houses for this weekend:

Saturday, July 7 from 1- 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using FGPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)

Sunday, July 8 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using FGPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
3 Louis Drive, Montville
8 ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...

Pet Corner