State Police figures indicate the use of the overdose antidote naloxone has tripled in New Jersey since 2014. But one expert suggests that the actual use of naloxone is much higher.

The use of noloxone, also widely known by one of its brand names, Narcan, went from 5,174 in 2014 to 7,222 in 2015. The number rose to 10,308 in 2016. It was 14,357 in 2017, according to the State Police statistics.

According to Paul Ressler, who founded the Mercer County-based Overdose Prevention Agency Corp., which trains people in the use of naloxone, says the numbers are just the tip of the iceberg because the stats are based on police use of the antidote.

"There are reversals that take place in treatment facilities, reversals that take place in homes, people's homes, and police are never called. And also every day in emergency rooms throughout the state, there are medically-produced reversals," he said, adding that health privacy laws prevent the disclosure of hospital information.

"I think that the main reason (naloxone use is up) is the Overdose Prevention Act that was passed into law on May 2, 2013. Gov. Christie signed the law, and what that did was make naloxone, in several different forms, available to law enforcement and the EMTs to carry it and actually administer it."

Naloxone use is up in all counties with the exception of Monmouth and Ocean, where programs have been implemented to seek treatment in lieu of arrest for many addicts.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5

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