TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police in all New Jersey counties are now allowed to use a heroin-overdose antidote to combat a growing problem.
Gov. Chris Christie held a news conference Tuesday at a Trenton drug treatment center to announce the statewide expansion of a pilot program that allows police officers to carry and administer Narcan.
“Law enforcement has to take a holistic approach to problems that plague society,” state Attorney General John Hoffman told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller. “And we’re not going to be able to arrest our way out of this problem.”
Hoffman said overdose rates have doubled in certain counties.
“Because New Jersey’s such a big port town, the purity of heroin is very strong in New Jersey,” he said. “It’s considered to be the most pure heroin in the country. It’s also very cheap in New Jersey.”
Monmouth and Ocean counties were the first to give officers the antidote. Officials credit a pilot program for helping save more than 40 lives so far.
The drug, also known as naloxone, can reverse an overdose that would likely otherwise be fatal.
“It resuscitates the body,” Hoffman explained. “It allows the body to continue to breathe — or it allows you to continue to breathe.”
Christie has long called the war on drugs a failure and said addiction needs to be treated as a disease and not a crime.
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