Source: RLS Media
On November 4, Morristown police officers administered two doses of Narcan to a man who was found unconscious and unresponsive. By regaining consciousness and being hospitalized, the man helped set a milestone: His was the one thousandth opioid overdose reversed due to the deployment of Narcan — used to counter the effects of an opiate overdose — by the Morris County police.
First launched in 2015, the initiative is a partnership between the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office; local law enforcement; and medical, and social service agencies such as Morris CARES (Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success), a project of Prevention is Key (PIK).
The need for such an initiative is a stark reminder of the impact of heroin/fentanyl and prescription opioids: In New Jersey, nearly ten people are lost to overdoses every day.
Mount Olive police chief Stephen Beecher, president of the Morris County Chiefs of Police Association, stated, “We know that we are not going to arrest ourselves out of this health crisis — we know that addiction is a disease.
“We know that education and treatment is the key. We know that getting sober and maintaining recovery is a difficult journey. Our officers’ ability to use Narcan saves lives and gives those struggling with addiction the chance to get sober for themselves and their loved ones.”
Melody Runyan, associate director of Morris CARES, said, “as a result of Morris County law enforcement having the ability to carry and administer the powerful opiate overdose antidote, Narcan, 1,000 people have been given another chance to change their lives.
“Narcan 2.0 is a project in which overdose survivors have the opportunity to work with a CARES Certified Peer Recovery Specialist who use their experiences with problematic substance use and with recovery to help individual struggling with opiate use disorder find and maintain a path of recovery.”
The program is required for every person who has overdosed and had their condition reversed in the field due to the administration of Narcan. Police officers must be counseled by a certified Peer Recovery Specialist trained by Morris CARES.
Morris County prosecutor Robert J. Carroll said, “1,000 overdose reversals is a solemn milestone that nevertheless highlights the critical, heroic work Morris County officers do nearly every day.
“Often the first on the scene of an overdose, uniformed officers can intervene quickly and save lives. The public is not always aware of just how many lives are shattered due to overdoses. Our officers deserve recognition and our gratitude.”