In the News: New Jersey Police to Carry Heroin OD Antidote
People who overdose on heroin in one New Jersey County soon will have access to an OD antidote that can revive them — and it will be given to them by the police. This program, which will be available to all 33 towns in Ocean County, is to begin early next year. It includes the prescription drug naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan. The Heroin OD antidote can briefly reverse the potentially fatal effects of heroin so first responders have enough time to revive an unconscious victim (even if they have stopped breathing!) before arriving at the hospital for additional treatment. Narcan can be used with any drug with opioids, such as narcotics and painkillers.
The medical director of Emergency Training and Consulting, Dr. Kenneth G. Lavelle, spoke at a meeting of police chiefs Tuesday at the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office to discuss the program. The police in Camden County are also working toward having access to this Heroin OD antidote; apparently there have been 138 deaths related to drugs in Camden County in 2012. In my opinion, I think this is a great idea and could have benefited a lot of people in the past and definitely will in the future. There is a lot of people out there that are hardcore drug addicts that end up overdosing on the streets and have no one there to help them. It’ll be nice to know that the police who are monitoring the area will have an antidote for that.
The Heroin OD antidote Narcan costs about $25 and the training of officers would take just about 15 minutes, Dr. Kenneth G. Lavelle said. It is expected to take about 3 months for all officers to be trained. “You can actually give it, just like a nasal spray,” Lavelle said. “The individual (police officer) would open up the box, pop off two pieces of plastic, assemble it, and they would just hold this to the nose and squirt. There are no needles. There are no risks.” It makes a lot of sense for them to give this antidote to the police seeing as they are the first to show up to a scene after 911 is called.
According to Dr. Lavelle this is not new, it has been used in other states; it is just new in New Jersey. It seems they also would like to attempt getting this antidote to people who live with a suffering drug addict. Can you imagine how many lives would be saved? If your friends or family had an antidote on them, but would those really help addicts? I think it could definitely be used for good purpose in saving someone’s life but it can also be a way for someone to keep using. I know it would have been nice when I was out there getting high to know if I overdosed, the person with me could revive me! Along with using the antidote to save people, I hope once it is used they give them options or suggestions to look into treatment, as well. Saving a life with the antidote is amazing and all but to keep them alive they would have to achieve sobriety and work a program of recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.