Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office and Rowan University to Train First Responders on Overdose Prevention

ATLANTIC COUNTY — The Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office and Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine will collaborate through a federal grant to provide overdose prevention training for first responders across Atlantic County.

The Sheriff’s Office will receive a four-year federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Sheriff’s Office and Rowan University will receive $500,000 the first year and $2 million over a four-year period.

“This grant will enhance access to naloxone for first responders, helping them to save the lives of individuals who experience an opiate overdose and prevent future fatal overdoses,” Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler said.

Naloxone is a medication that can prevent overdoses by opioids such as heroin and oxycodone.

Chief Warrant Officer Tim Reed, of the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, will be the project director and will collaborate with Dr. Richard Jermyn of Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (Rowan SOM) to implement the project to train first responders.

The program, called “Enhancing First Responder Access to Overdose Treatment in Atlantic County, New Jersey,” will train police, firefighters, casino and hospital security, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in Atlantic County on a train-the-trainer model that will distribute naloxone and train overdose survivors and their family members on its use.

A portion of the grant will create an Atlantic County Quick Response Team (ACQRT) that will integrate with the HOPE-1 Mobile Recovery Unit which is operated by the Sheriff’s Office. The ACQRT will include police, EMTs, a social worker, a substance use counselor, and a Rowan SOM medical student.

The team will visit overdose survivors and their families within 72 hours of an overdose giving them outreach and recovery support and assist in engaging them in treatment. ACQRT will also provide training on how to carry and use naloxone.

The grant will also help develop a curriculum to train first responders and community members on fentanyl safety.