Promoted by many researchers and platforms as a life-saving drug, naloxone is living up to that description.

Better known as Narcan, the opioid antidote saved the lives of more than 80% of overdose victims who were administered the drug in Atlantic County from 2015 to 2017, according to a Stockton University study released Monday.

The analysis of 311 sample overdoses over that timeframe also uncovered some significant trends relating to the makeup and habits of the individuals involved.

By a wide margin (71% vs. 29%), males made up the majority of overdose victims, the study shows. More than half of the victims were under 35 years old, and 73 percent were white.

According to the sample, more overdoses occurred in October, November and December than the six months from January through June.

Of the 311 victims analyzed, 265 survived. Seventeen died, and information was missing on 29 cases.

Not all of these individuals, however, received Narcan in order to survive their overdose. Of those who reportedly received Narcan, about 82% responded and presented as alert or sedated. About 16% recorded no response.

Three-quarters of those who were administered Narcan responded to the antidote within five minutes.

The CDC recently underscored the importance of Narcan in combating the heroin and opioid epidemic. Gov. Phil Murphy's administration said it's "all in" on increasing access to those who need it most, and their loved ones.

From January through May of this year, law enforcement and EMS have administered naloxone more than 5,500 times. There were more than 16,000 deployments last year. Numbers from the state do no include naloxone uses by the public.

More than 3,100 individuals died of a drug overdose in New Jersey last year.

Authors of the Stockton study said the results suggest more research is needed both statewide and locally. More than half of the county's overdoses occurred in Atlantic City, but only 15% of victims reside there.

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