Department of Human Services

Human Services Distributes More than 24,000 Life-Saving Naloxone Doses to Law Enforcement Agencies Across New Jersey

Effort Continues Murphy Administration’s Work to Save Lives by Getting Overdose Antidote into as Many Hands as Possible

August 3, 2021

(TRENTON) – Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced the Department in cooperation with the Attorney General’s Office has distributed more than 24,000 doses of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone to 271 law enforcement agencies across New Jersey.

In total, 12,153 two-dose naloxone kits were given to law enforcement agencies at no-cost to them.

The distribution builds on Murphy Administration effort to make naloxone accessible. As part of that effort, Human Services has given 64,000 free doses to residents at pharmacies and previously distributed 70,000 free doses to police, EMS, homeless shelters, libraries and re-entry organizations.

“Quite simply, naloxone saves lives,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “We are building on our efforts to get this life-saving antidote into as many hands as possible to save lives and connect individuals to recovery support. Giving first responders a tool they need to save lives is yet another step in our work to combat this epidemic.”

"Every minute counts when it comes to opioid overdoses," Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck said. "The sooner an antidote can be administered, the more likely it is that we can save a life. Because law enforcement officers are often the first on the scene of an overdose, it's critical that they carry overdose reversal drugs. We're thankful to our partners at the Department of Human Services for working with us to put so many doses of naloxone in the hands of our first responders in law enforcement."

When a law enforcement officer utilizes naloxone on an individual, various steps are taken to assist the individual. In some locations law enforcement officers will request recovery coaches to respond, while some municipalities have partnerships with hospitals or treatment providers to connect individuals with assistance. Law enforcement agencies report all naloxone administrations to the New Jersey State Police where the information is used to inform outreach efforts to those at risk.

“Naloxone is a first line of defense against an opioid overdose,” said Human Services Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke, who directs Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “As such, we want to ensure that the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone is readily available to as many people as possible. Our goal is to save lives.”

Governor Murphy also recently signed a comprehensive legislative package into law to address the state’s opioid crisis through overdose prevention and recovery resilience. The bills, among other things, expand low-barrier access to naloxone and medication assisted treatment.

As always, Human Services urges residents needing addiction assistance to call the state’s addiction treatment helpline, 1-844-ReachNJ, a 24-hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week addictions help line where people facing addiction or their friends and family can get immediate assistance and support from live, New Jersey-based, trained addiction counselors.

ReachNJ assists callers regardless of their insurance status.

“We want to put people on the path to recovery,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “Treatment works, and recovery is attainable, so please don’t hesitate to call.”