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northjersey.com: North Jersey students 'Shout Down' drug abuse

March 9, 2018


Could songs keep youths away from the dangers of drug addiction? A Millburn-based nonprofit hopes such is the case.

Thirty-two New Jersey high school students from 13 counties, including Essex, Bergen, and Morris, are finalists in the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s 14th annual “Shout Down Drugs” contest, the Millburn-based nonprofit announced.

The contest focuses on original musical acts. There are 18 musical groups with 32 students in this year's event.

Details can be found on the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s website, drugfreenj.org.

The April 27 concert will feature students performing their works at Daytop, a substance abuse treatment center in Mendham, according to the Partnership.

Millburn High School juniors Kyle Farscht, Jessica Yeager, and Danielle Benna, of the band Powdered Elephants, entered a song, “Monster,” a tune about drug addiction.

“Have to stay strong every day. Time is just ticking away,” they sing amid dreamy piano music. “I don’t think you realize you’ve no power over me.”

“We wanted something a little bit weird and a little bit quirky,” said Farscht, who has been performing with the group for the past three years.

“Promoting a drug-free lifestyle is one of the most important things to do in high school because it’s easy to get tempted, to get pressured, to fall down a hole,” he told NorthJersey.com.

Tiffany Enemuo, a 14-year-old freshman at the American Christian School in Wharton, and a resident of Jefferson Township, submitted an R&B solo for the competition.

“I’m excited that I have the opportunity to reach out to people who have been struggling with drugs, or who know people who have been struggling,” Enemuo told NorthJersey.com.


Her song, which can be heard on the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s website, tells of someone suffering from drug use.

“Trapped in misery, her choices clipped her wings,” Enemuo sings. “Her friends, her loved ones left, as her life fell apart.”

In Bergen County, Maria Chung, of Old Tappan High School, performs the song, “You could have done better.”

Audiences can vote for their favorite songs online at shoutdowndrugs.com.

The finalists have a chance to win up to $10,000 worth of music contracts as part of the competition, stated Angelo Valente, executive director of the Millburn based Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for these teens to inspire their peers, as well as adults, with their crucial messages of substance-use prevention,” Valente stated.

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