WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – New Jersey has started up a pilot program in Ocean County to allow police officers to carry a heroin overdose antidote.
Gov. Chris Christie announced a pilot program Wednesday.
In Middlesex County, Woodbridge Police Director Robert Hubner said he’s in favor of expanding the program.
“I absolutely think it’s a good idea. I think law enforcement being on the road 24/7, we’re normally the first to arrive on a scene and minutes can make a difference, I think if law enforcement’s able to administer Narcan in those heroin overdose events, we’re gonna save lives,” he told Putney. “Our first aid and EMT respond very quickly. But they’re usually responding from a central location. We’re on the road, we’re out there so chances are we’re going to be the first to arrive on scene.”
Hubner said he heard several months ago about Ocean County moving to equip their officers with Narcan.
“We are moving forward with exploring that. We talked to Ocean County, we found out the Attorney General’s office had kind of taken the issue. They want to review it and see if they’re going to come up with a statewide policy for law enforcement,” he said.
If the drug is approved for use by police statewide, Hubner said he wants it for his officers as soon as possible.
Fatal heroin overdoses in Ocean County more than doubled, from 53 in 2012 to 112 last year. There have been over 180 in Monmouth County since 2011, Putney reported.
Christie on Wednesday met first responders in Brick Township to discuss the emergency treatment. The governor signed a waiver allowing first responders in New Jersey to carry and administer Narcan last week.
He says the waiver complements the state’s Overdose Prevention Act, a measure that shields someone overdosing on drugs and those who get them medical assistance from prosecution.
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