On July 7th at 6pm at the Preferred Behavioral Health Center, 725 Airport Road, Lakewood, NJ the Ocean County Opiate Task Force in cooperation with the Ocean County Prosecutors Office, Preferred Behavioral Health, Prevention First and Dr. Raj Juneja will be holding a “Family Night” as part of their monthly Town Hall.
The first 100 family members to arrive at the “Family Night” event, who feel Naloxone can be a second chance for their addicted love one, will receive a free Naloxone kit. A training video and demonstration on administering Naloxone will be presented. Additionally, Dr.Juneja, a member of the board will be on site to discuss the effects of Naloxone and to write prescriptions for families in need.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato has worked with a number of Ocean County pharmacies to have Naloxone regularly on hand for purchase. The list of pharmacies and the Naloxone training video can be found on the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office website at: www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.
In May, 2013 Governor Chris Christie signed into law, PL 2013 c.43, the Overdose Prevention Act. This law permits a physician to prescribe an opiate antidote to anyone that may “be in a position to assist another individual during an overdose” of opioids (heroin, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, etc.). While the initial intent was to be able to supply this antidote to families and friends, the law also permits this antidote to be prescribed to others in public safety that may encounter an overdosed individual, such as law enforcement officers, security personnel, teachers, coaches, counselors, and other first responders. A specific aspect of the law is that it eliminates civil and criminal liability for anyone who administers the antidote known as Naloxone. This medication can be delivered as a nasal spray intra-nasally. It is completely safe and often effective. In many cases it will reverse the effects of an opiate overdose and possibly save the person’s life.
Thanks to the efforts of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, working with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Health, Ocean County and Monmouth County have been designated by Governor Christie as the pilot programs for roll out of the New Jersey Law Enforcement Naloxone Program. Commencing April 2014, law enforcement agencies in Ocean County were equipped with the Naloxone Opiate Antidote Kits. The Naloxone Kits have been paid for by Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office forfeiture funds and given to county local police. The money for the purchase of these kits has come from confiscated property from drug dealers so no tax dollars have been used for this program. In the first month of the program, 10 reversals have been reported to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. To date there have been 52 reversals across Ocean County.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office acknowledges and thanks Kenneth Lavelle, MD, who is the medical director for the Ocean County Law Enforcement Naloxone Program. Dr. Lavelle has trained law enforcement and EMS personnel in Ocean County and has greatly assisted in developing the training that is now being given state-wide to first responders.
This Law Enforcement Naloxone Program is only one of many efforts made by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey to reverse the alarming trend of opiate abuse in Ocean County. Significant efforts have been directed towards the enforcement of drug laws, education of our youth, and public awareness of the need for more rehabilitation and changes to drug laws. [TLS]