It's getting outrageous.  Narcan used on multiple occasions on the same victims with the person being sent on their way to face the same demons that brought on the overdose in the first place. People getting re-arrested hours after being revived by a first responder after an overdose. Narcan saving lives, but failing to address the actual problem of addiction.

It’s really simple. If you are administered Narcan by law enforcement or any first responder, you should be arrested and held. Mandatory rehab. This idea that a person charged with a DUI and revived at the scene is back on the street within an hour is absurd. We’re throwing money at a problem and then not solving it.

The taxpayers are subsidizing a program that has in fact saved lives. First responders are trained to save lives and administer the drug. Any family who nearly lost a loved one will tell you how important the program is for them and our community. The challenge is that there are literally no consequences of overdosing and being brought back by Narcan.  There's nothing to prevent future crimes and overdoses. How many people are dying after they've been saved? How much longer are we going to stick with a program that is only a partial answer?

Common sense tells us that this is a flawed and failed attempt to hide the scourge of addiction by in effect enabling overdosing. That's right, we've turned a miracle drug into an enabler of horrible and life-threatening behavior.

The answer is not to get rid of the drug, nor stop it's implementation. The answer is to solve the problem by forcing a next step for addicts. Mandatory rehab through drug courts. It's time to get people off the streets who have shown a history of being a danger to themselves and others. How many innocent motorists are at risk every day from drivers taking heroin and other illicit drugs? Why is society so quick to condemn the drunk driver as a criminal, but puts the heroin addict doing the same thing in the "feel sorry for them because they have a disease" category?

I've spent a lot of time working with recovery groups like CFC Loud N Clear to help them in their fight to defeat addiction. We've held comedy nights to help raise money for groups like City of Angels NJ to tell you that we need to do more to empower and help families save their loved ones. I've tried to help as best I can by speaking to medical groups about empowering individuals and emceeing festivals. These groups are outstanding, but they need help from the government and law enforcement.

We need to do a lot more to empower individuals to fight off addiction in the first place. Mandatory treatment is the first step.  It's time to tie court ordered treatment to anyone who has been administered Narcan in the commission of a crime, including using the illegal drug in the first place. At a glance, the idea of expanding drug court to go beyond those facing prison or rehab and include those non-violent offenders who's only crime was using the illicit drug in the first place may go a long way to stopping the opioid epidemic in New Jersey.

But at the current rate, we're wasting time and your money with no solution in sight.

Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea.

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