Posted Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp has announced the formal launch of a program that will train and equip Morris County police officers to administer the life-saving antidote Narcan® to persons suffering from an overdose of heroin or prescription Opiates.

The Morris County Nasal Narcan® Program is a partnership between the Prosecutor’s Office, municipal police departments in the county and Atlantic Ambulance Corporation. Atlantic Ambulance Corporation is providing training and medical oversight to all participating municipal police departments that opt to participate in the program.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that can be used to counter the effects of opiate overdose with no reported complications from the administration of the antidote. An aerosol form of naloxone called Narcan® is administered nasally through use of a syringe-atomizer.

A pilot authorized earlier this year by the state Attorney General’s Office in South Jersey has been credited with saving numerous lives. After receiving approval for a state-wide implementation, the Prosecutor’s Office partnered with Atlantic Ambulance Corporation to develop a Standard Operating Procedure and Training Protocol modeled after the successful South Jersey program that will assist the municipal police departments in deploying this life saving antidote into our communities.

“The heroin in our communities is at a historically high potency level resulting in many overdoses,” said Prosecutor Knapp. “This is another tool that will be deployed by our law enforcement community to tackle this potent poison.”

In Morris County, trained and certified police officers will be provided equipment for use in administering the drug, including medical gloves, syringe-atomizer and a facemask for rescue breathing. A bill signed by the governor last year eliminates civil liability for both health care professionals “trained” individuals administering the drug and is the basis for allowing law enforcement officers to carry the antidote.

Knapp said his office is taking a dynamic approach to combating the opiate epidemic.

“We will continue to increase our narcotics enforcement efforts that target drug dealers spreading poison into our communities. However, we must also deploy tools like Narcan® to confront this state-wide narcotics epidemic and help prevent the unnecessary deaths of citizens suffering with opiate addictions,” Knapp said.