Governor Christie wants young people to get hooked on fishing, not drugs.

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He’s signed legislation that creates a “Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs” program – that will provide students with access to extracurricular outlets – including fishing – that utilize Jersey’s outdoor recreation assets.

“We have a responsibility to guide young New Jerseyans away from the dangers of drug use and other illicit activities that too easily take hold of lives and tear apart our families,” said Governor Christie, “the ‘Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs’ Program will help steer young men and women away from the pitfalls of drug abuse by utilizing our great outdoors to create educational, recreational and mentorship opportunities.”

The program, which will be funded through an appropriation of 200 thousand dollars from the Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction Fund, is based on a national program developed by the Future Fisherman Foundation, and will use the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife staff to assist school districts and other public service organizations in implementing the program throughout the state.

To improve and maintain the effectiveness of the program, the Division will collect and maintain data on the program and provide an annual report to the legislature. Information detailed in the annual report will include the number of participating school districts, students and municipalities, as well as data used to determine the rate of drug avoidance or incidence among students participating in the program.