By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Assignment Editor
TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey will give 11,352 doses of Naloxone — a drug that reverses overdoses by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain — to 179 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) teams across the state.
Every EMS team in the state had the opportunity to receive free doses of Naloxone as part of its efforts to combat opioid overdoses. Throughout his tenure as governor, Phil Murphy has provided 32,000 doses of the drug to citizens, 53,000 to police departments, 400 to libraries, and 1,200 to homeless shelters for free.
“New Jersey continues to battle the overdose epidemic, which is being compounded by the current COVID-19 health emergency,” New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said in a press release. “New Jersey EMS clinicians have been responding to an increase in overdoses in the state and we want to ensure they have tools they need to care for patients.”
Naloxone became a covered medication as part of the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) program on July 1 of this year. Because of this program, older residents and those with disabilities can save money on the cost of the drug.
New Jersey’s Department of Health also started the “Five Minutes to Help Program” last fall, which trains EMS responders in interacting with overdose victims. More than 100 employees have been trained to date, and the state plans on expanding this program further by focusing on compassion fatigue and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, among other initiatives.
“We want to remind people that they are not alone,” Carole Johnson, commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Human Services, said. “These are challenging times for everyone, but help is available and recovery is possible.”
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