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New Jersey Program Uses Fishing To Prevent Drug Use [AUDIO]

The New Jersey chapter of the Hooked On Fishing Not On Drugs program is currently operating in just one school district in the Garden State, but recent legislation may make it more likely in schools across the state.

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The national program uses 20 one-hour lessons to teach core subjects and life-skills as a means of drug prevention.

“I teach them fishing is more than just throwing a hook in the water, sitting there being bored to tears,” said Charles Breitweiser, President of the New Jersey chapter.

The program kicked off this year in Old Bridge, with Breitweiser funding the program between donations and out of pocket.

Governor Christie recently signed legislation that will allow state funding for the program. The law allots about $200,000 that will be taken from drug fines to pay for the cost. Breitweiser estimates that Hooked On Fishing Not On Drugs costs about $3,000 per school.

Breitweiser credits Old Bridge High School teacher Bryan Garnett, who has been very helpful with running the program at the school.

“If you have a good fishing club, led by responsible role-models, the students will flock to it,” he said.

The basic premise is encouraging credible extra-curricular activities to move kids away from the down time that may lead to bad decisions, such as drug use.

“They love to fish, but nobody ever takes them, so they never get to go,” Breitweiser explained, “So, as a result, they don’t do that and end up getting into other things.”

Learn more about the program and how you can help by visiting their website.

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