Narcan Program a Success, But Not Long Term [AUDIO]
Ocean County's Narcan pilot program has reversed 16 overdoses so far, and while it's being considered a success by the prosecutor, it's not a long term solution.
Of the 16 reversals, Narcan, the name for Naloxone Spray - which reverses the effects of opioid overdoses, 14 have been by police while the remaining two have been by EMTs.
While the pilot program is being expanded into neighboring Monmouth County with the possibility of a full statewide launch, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato reminds Narcan is not a long term solution for the state's heroin epidemic; education is.
"Hopefully it will come to a point where we won't have to be saving all of these people, but on the short term, you have to remember we have over 120 overdose deaths in Ocean County," Coronato said.
The prosecutor sees getting Narcan into the hands of families who have loved ones with addiction problems as the next step for the county's pilot program.
"Usually police officers are the first individuals on the scene, but before the police officer is on there, the person who's calling; who can be a mother, father, husband, wife, if they had, they could utilize it," the prosecutor said.
While the pilot program does allow for civilians to have the Narcan spray in their homes, it's not being prescribed by doctors nor is it being carried by many pharmacies.
"The point is to make it more readily available, to make sure the pharmacist has it and to make sure the doctor can prescribe it," said Coronato.
While more than a dozen people have a new lease on life thanks Narcan, Coronato reminds it's important not to waste the opportunity.
"Once we've saved these people, now the next job is to educate them and try to get them in a rehab facility so it doesn't happen again," Coronati said.
No charges were pressed against the overdose victims nor the people who called police on their behalf as part of Overdose Prevention Act.