Hunterdon police will soon be equipped and trained to administer Naloxone, a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of a heroin or opiate overdose.
According to Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III every municipal police department in Hunterdon County will soon be equipped and trained to administer the medication.
Prosecutor Kearns explained that police officers are usually the first to arrive on the scene of an emergency, and in the case of an overdose, minutes could be the difference between life and death.
Naloxone, which is administered just like a nasal spray, can revive people who overdose on heroin or other opiates.
Naloxone blocks the effects of an opioid for a period of time and permits emergency responders to get the victim to the hospital for treatment.
The effects of an opiate can last up to four hours, so overdose victims who are administered Naloxone will require further medical attention.
Kearns said that while Naloxone cannot cure a person of his or her addiction, it can give them a second chance and allow them an opportunity to seek help and begin the recovery process.
Previously, only hospital staff could administer Narcan, another version of the medication.
But it became legal for police officers to administer the drug when Governor Christie signed the Overdose Prevention Act, a good Samaritan law aimed at protecting those who render aid to overdose victims.
Kearns also said, "Rehabilitation and drug enforcement are still critical to stemming the heroin epidemic and the use of Naloxone by police officers will save lives."