|Statewide Program to Train and Equip First Responders to Save Lives
Christie announced the statewide expansion of the successful pilot program that was launched in Ocean and Monmouth counties earlier this year to help reduce the number of heroin-related deaths by training and equipping police officers and first responders to administer the antidote Narcan to overdose victims.
- The Christie Administration has issued a waiver to more than 28,000 certified EMTs to allow them to administer Narcan, a medication used to treat drug overdose patients in emergency situations statewide.
- Police officers and first responders in Ocean and Monmouth counties have reversed more than 40 opiate overdoses.
- Police officers and first responders in all 21 counties will now be trained in how to administer the nasally-injected Narcan antidote to overdose victims.
- The New Jersey State Police is also moving forward with the Narcan initiative – ordering 900 Narcan kits to ensure that every State Police patrol vehicle is equipped and training NJ Troopers, an effort that began last month.
The Narcan initiative is a vital component of the State’s multi-pronged response to the opiate crisis, which also includes vigorous public awareness, anti-addiction, law enforcement and regulatory efforts.
Law Enforcement Officials Already Credit The Narcan Program With Saving Lives:
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato: “It’s all about saving lives and the need for all police departments to have their officers trained to administer Narcan.” (Stephanie Loder, “Seaside Heights administers first lifesaving dose of Narcan in Ocean County,” Asbury Park Press, 4/11/14)
Ocean Township Detective Lt. Kevin Faller: “It’s incredible. You see someone who is as close to death as you can possibly get and within minutes will sit up and have a conversation with you … It gives us the tool to save lives when we would used to have to perform CPR and other life-saving efforts until paramedics or EMS arrived who had that drug to administer.” (Ashley Peskoe, “Ocean Township Police Make Monmouth County's First Heroin Overdose Save Using Narcan,” NJ.com, 6/6/14)
- “When the paramedics would use it, it’s nothing less than miraculous … Now that we as the first responders have it, we can’t say enough about it. It has obviously worked and will in the future save lives.” (Ashley Peskoe, “Ocean Township Police Make Monmouth County's First Heroin Overdose Save Using Narcan,” NJ.com, 6/6/14)
Lacey Township Police Officer Erik Hershey who saved a woman’s life in April with Narcan: “She was unconscious, and when I gave her Narcan, in 20 seconds she sat up on the bed and was talking to me … Before, we could administer oxygen and chest compressions, but there wasn’t much we could do except wait for EMS to get there. It was frustrating, especially with the number of overdoses I’ve seen in my career.” (Donna Weaver, “Police In Lacey Township Save Woman With Heroin Antidote Narcan,” The Press Of Atlantic City, 4/23/14)
Seaside Heights Police Officer Edward Pasieka: “We had three overdoses and three saves, so I would say Narcan is working ...” (Donna Weaver, “Police In Lacey Township Save Woman With Heroin Antidote Narcan,” The Press Of Atlantic City, 4/23/14)
Seaside Heights Police Officer Daniel Davis: “Definitely my adrenaline was pumping, and I was thinking about the training I just finished three days ago. The training was excellent and it definitely worked … It’s a great feeling to see this. You read about it working, but seeing firsthand is something else …” (Donna Weaver, “Police In Lacey Township Save Woman With Heroin Antidote Narcan,” The Press Of Atlantic City, 4/23/14)
Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Al Della Fave: “If we can have this kind of success just here in Ocean County imagine the kind of impact we would have in every county in the state …” (Ashley Peskoe, “Monmouth County police departments receive Narcan,” NJ.com, 6/5/14)
- "Plain and simple, for some folks it's a second chance they can make good on …" (Dustin Racioppi, “Three Heroin Saves In 12 Hours In Toms River,” Asbury Park Press, 5/23/14)
The Christie Administration Waiver For EMTs To Administer Narcan, “Gives The Green Light To EMTs Across The State And Will Save Lives”:
The Christie Administration has issued a waiver to more than 28,000 certified EMTs to allow them to administer Narcan, a medication used to treat drug overdose patients in emergency situations statewide.
- Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd: "Every minute counts in an emergency overdose situation so having first responders carry and administer this medication may mean the difference between life and death ...” (“Christie Administration Grants Waiver For EMTs To Administer Medication In Life Threatening Overdose Situations,” Press Release, 3/21/14)
- Roseanne Scotti, state director for the Drug Policy Alliance: “The waiver is ‘fantastic news,’ that ‘gives the green light to EMTs across the state and will save lives ...” (Susan K. Livio, “Christie allows EMTS to provide heroin antidote to prevent overdoses,” Star-Ledger, 3/21/14)
- Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato: “It's a blessing that now all EMTs and police officers who are EMTs don't have to worry. Now what we can do is get the program out there and start saving lives.” (Donna Weaver, “Gov. Christie issues waiver allowing EMTs to administer Narcan,” Press of Atlantic City, 3/22/14)
- Dr. Ken Lavelle: “[Dr. Lavelle] trained Ocean County police officers last month to administer Narcan, said the issuance of the waiver is a win-win for police, EMTs and the public.” (Donna Weaver, “Gov. Christie issues waiver allowing EMTs to administer Narcan,” Press of Atlantic City, 3/22/14)
- Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vitale (D-Middlesex): “I want to thank Governor Christie, Commissioner O’Dowd and the Administration for their decision to fully implement the Overdose Prevention Act. By allowing EMTs to administer overdose antidotes when they are helping someone experiencing an overdose, they are likely to be saving their life.” (NJ Senate Democrats, “Vitale Applauds Christie Administration for Expanding Access to Overdose Antidote,” Press Release, 3/21/14)
- Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee Chair Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D (D-Burlington): “Until we can better address the underlying causes of addiction and provide broader treatment, we must give EMTs the tools they need to do their jobs – saving lives. I’m pleased that the administration feels the same way.” (NJ Assembly Democrats, “Conaway Commends Christie Administration for Joining Assembly’s Efforts to Prevent Drug Overdoses,” Press Release, 3/21/14)
Building on Governor Christie’s Commitment to Reclaiming Lives
- Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth): “This is great news and a smart move by the administration …With the heroin epidemic raging throughout the state, especially in Monmouth and Ocean counties, we need to equip our emergency personnel with every tool possible to avert a deadly overdose.” (Jean Mikle, “Christie allows EMTs to administer Narcan to overdose victims,” Asbury Park Press, 3/22/14)
Ending the Failed War on Drugs by Putting Treatment First:
Governor Christie has followed through on his commitment to take a smarter and more effective approach focused on treating drug-addicted offenders by signing into law landmark, bipartisan legislation to put in place a state-wide, mandatory drug court program. The legislation acts on Governor Christie’s belief that no life is disposable and that it is a commonsense and moral imperative to help individuals dealing with drug addiction reclaim their lives with treatment, rather than warehousing them in prison.
- Following the program’s enactment, mandatory drug courts were established in Hudson, Ocean and the region including Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren counties.
- In 2014 the program will be expanded to the following areas: Atlantic and Cape May, Passaic and Mercer.
- The law calls for a five-year phase in period, during which the capacity of the state's drug courts will be expanded and the effectiveness of the effort will be measured.
In fiscal year 2015, Governor Christie further acts on his commitment by increasing funding by $4.5 million for drug court expansion and treatment.
- This additional funding will permit the Department of Human Services to expand treatment to approximately 1,000 clients in both inpatient and outpatient facilities, providing the capacity needed to continue drug court expansion.
Integrating Substance Abuse Treatment With Employment Services:
Governor Christie is going further in helping those with drug addiction reclaim their lives in a permanent way, by taking the lead on an innovative initiative to integrate substance abuse treatment with employment services like job training, skills acquisition, and job-search and placement resources.
- Research shows that integrating employment with substance abuse treatment helps secure participation in the treatment program and leads to lower rates of relapse.
- Leveraging a $500,000 grant from the Nicholson Foundation, will allow the state to utilize up to $500,000 in additional federal resources via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training (SNAP E&T) program, for which many Drug Court participants are eligible.
Altogether, in fiscal year 2015, the Christie Administration and partners will devote up to $1 million towards these integrated employment services.
Signing Bipartisan Overdose Protection Act Into Law:
In May 2013, fulfilling his commitment to emphasize drug rehabilitation efforts and his different approach to dealing with drug abuse and addiction, Governor Chris Christie signed the bipartisan Overdose Protection Act (S2082) into law at a drug rehabilitation center in Paterson. The Governor was joined at the bill signing by Jon Bon Jovi, leading drug prevention advocates and family members of individuals lost to drug overdoses.
- The legislation takes a two-prong approach to help prevent drug overdose deaths in New Jersey. First, it provides legal protection to people who are in violation of the law while they are attempting to help a drug overdose victim. Secondly, it eliminates negative legal action against health care professionals or bystanders who administer overdose antidotes in life-threatening situations.