Heroin Antidoping Drug Saving Lives in Ocean County

There are few positive reports when it comes to heroin use but there may be one in Ocean County to report this month. If you are following this blog and news generally in the county, you know that figures for heroin addiction are not favorable, especially with teens and young adults. The County Prosecutor, Joseph Coronato, is well aware of the issue and has undertaken many efforts to address the problem. The efforts have not only included aggressive prosecution of those caught distributing heroin but also attempting to save lives. A specific measure he put in place since taking office has been to put in place a program for training police and sheriff’s officers in the administration of an anti overdose drug for heroin named Narcan. We are happy to report that his efforts have proved to be immediately successful.

The Asbury Park Press reported on April 24, 2014, that at least five (5) heroin and/or opiate overdose victims were saved with Narcan over the last month by members of the police departments in Seaside Park, Seaside Heights, Manchester and Lacey. The ages of two (2) of the victims were reported and both were twenty-two (22) years old or less. Although it is always difficult to learn that individuals are effected like this by heroin, the fact that police have the ability to save many from overdosing is a promising development. Equipping law enforcement is definitely going to help avoid needless deaths and this is an excellent measure to work tandem with the recently enacted “Overdose Prevention Act.”

In accordance with the Overdose Prevention Act, those who prescribe or administer Narcan or another antidoping medication are immune from liability. The act also provides immunity to those who report an overdose, as well as those individuals who experience an overdose. The rationale for extending immunity in this fashion is to insure that individuals feel free to seek medical assistance for an overdose. Historically, users were fearful of reporting an overdose because of the possibility that it might result in criminal prosecution for possession of heroin or another opiate. The possibility of this chilling effect should no longer exist although there is always a hesitance when it comes to summoning assistance from police by those who are involved in criminal activity.

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