Pubdate: Sat, 11 Jul 2015
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2015 Asbury Park Press
Author: Amanda Bent


In response to the July 2 letter "Monmouth and Ocean County hospitals 
to pay for Narcan," the partnership between Monmouth and Ocean County 
law enforcement and local health care systems furnishing police 
officers with naloxone (Narcan) is commendable.

It is essential that emergency personnel are prepared to respond 
effectively in opioid overdose emergencies, and the initiative 
equipping police and EMTs with this life-saving medication is 
invaluable. Any mention of that program's utility and success, 
however, also should include a reminder that New Jersey's Overdose 
Prevention Act encourages anyone who may be in a position to help in 
an overdose to carry naloxone.

People are rarely alone when they overdose, so the true first 
responders are already at the scene when the emergency arises. 
Overdose witnesses who have naloxone can safely and easily administer 
it while awaiting professional help, restoring the victim's breathing 
quickly when every moment counts.

Overdose deaths are largely preventable through a collective effort 
that goes beyond our health care system and emergency personnel. It 
includes empowering those who are vulnerable to overdose along with 
their peers and loved ones. Doctors and pharmacists should be 
providing naloxone accordingly and community members also can take 
advantage of free naloxone distribution programs. The state should 
expand support for comprehensive community naloxone distribution to 
maximize the number of New Jerseyans who are prepared to help save lives.

Amanda Bent

Drug Policy Alliance

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