TRENTON – The Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee release bill A288, which would establish a program whose goal is to put fishing rods instead of drugs in the hands of students.
Tom Connors of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, who is in favor of the bill, said the program – Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs – has been very effective. He said 90 percent of students who participated in the program in middle school are still drug-, alcohol- and tobacco-free when they reached high school.
Every school district in Arkansas has it, he said.
The program would start off as a pilot program in Ocean County.
It was originally proposed 12 years ago, but was never enacted.
However, Candice Singer of the National Council of Alcohol and Drug Dependence is against the bill, largely because it would siphon funds away from various drug prevention programs supported by the state.
The $200,000 to launch the program that is called for in the bill would come from the state Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction Fund, which collects revenues through drug fines.
Assemblywoman Celeste Riley described the program as “a noble cause” worth looking at.
Committee Chairman Nelson Albano praised the program.
“A fishing rod in someone’s hand instead of drug paraphernalia, we need to advocate programs like that.”