The State Senate unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove that would establish a “Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs” (HOFNOD) program within the Division of Fish and Wildlife to encourage children to avoid drug use.
Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs is a nationally recognized program developed by the Future Fisherman Foundation which has operated successfully in over a dozen states. The Connors-Rumpf-Gove bill would establish the HOFNOD program on a Statewide basis by enabling the Division of Fish and Wildlife to implement and model the program after the pilot HOFNOD program implemented in Ocean County in 2000. To the maximum extent possible, the division will implement and operate the program in every county in the State.
The 9th District Legislators’ bill (S-106/A-288) establishes the program=s funding source as the Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction Fund from which there would be a $200,000 appropriation to support the cost of implementing the Program. This is a statutory account established to receive fines and penalties from convicted drug offenders that are used to support State authorized drug and alcohol abuse abatement programs.
Following the Senate’s passage of their anti-drug initiative, the 9th District Delegation offered the following remarks:
“We strongly believe the ‘Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs’ program would serve as an active deterrent to drug use and addiction for our children.
“The Program has an undeniably strong track record of success, having been implemented in more than 30 states across the country and serves as the flagship educational program of the Future Fisherman’s Foundation.
“Helping children to develop positive life skills while teaching school aged children to fish and have an appreciation of aquatic and environmental resources are all core aspects of the Program’s principles for drug prevention.
“We are proud that our bill is a bipartisan initiative with support from legislators across the state, all of whom fully recognize that drug addiction among our youth is a serious, statewide problem that needs to be combated with an innovative approach to effectively resonate with children.
“Among the primary reasons for why we are fighting so hard for this initiative is that New Jersey, with its pristine beaches and wide array of waterways, including those found in State Parks, has numerous locations from where the Program’s principles can be taught to our children in an environmental setting.”
Subsequent to its passage by the Senate, S-106 will be sent to the Assembly for consideration. The identical companion measure, A-288, is presently lodged in the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.