In Cumberland County, EMTs from the Millville Rescue Squad are now carrying Narcan, the heroin overdose antidote.
John Redden is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Millville Rescue Squad and told NBC40, “In 2013 we were dispatched to between 70 and 80 overdose calls." Health officials in Millville say drug overdoses are on the rise, and heroin use is becoming an increasing problem.
In an effort to help curb the number of heroin-related deaths, EMTs there have been trained, and are now ready to administer the drug, if needed. Redden said, “Our program went into place a couple of weeks ago and just the other day we almost had to administer our first dose. The program consists of video training, written tests, hands on training, and being signed off on clinical skills."
Narcan is administered to suspected overdose victims through the nose, and reverses the effects of heroin almost immediately.
In nearby Cape May County, officials from the Prosecutor's Office say 50 police officers and county detectives finished training with Narcan last week.
Cape May County Prosecutor, Robert Taylor, said, "We are using drug forfeiture money to purchase the Narcan and to go through training - so it hasn't cost the taxpayers any dollars and it's something that we need to do as soon as possible. I understand they've brought back over 40 people in Ocean County already."
Officials in Cape May County say they are waiting for approval by the New Jersey Attorney General's office to use it, which they hope will be June 17th. Taylor explained. "If you're in a town where there is not many drug overdoses, you're not going to get many doses of Narcan - but if you're in a town where there are a lot of overdoses, you're going to get a lot more."
Authorities in Cape May County say overdose numbers for the year are up, but fatalities are down - and with police officers administering Narcan, they hope even more deaths can be avoided.
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