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Posted Monday, December 11th, 2017

There Have Been 76 Fatal Opiate Overdoses this Year in Morris County

As opioid-related overdoses have continued to rise in Morris County, the supply of Narcan, a lifesaving drug created to reverse overdoses, has been depleted among law enforcement agencies operating in Morris County.

vial of naloxone (generic of Narcan) with a syringe

To address this depletion and its impact on police department budgets, Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp has authorized the expenditure of $7,864 in drug forfeiture money to replenish the supply and aid municipal police department’s budgets.

In total the Prosecutor’s Office purchased 165 dosages of Narcan, at $45 per dose, which will be distributed to Morris County police agencies this week at a meeting of the Morris County Police Chiefs Association.

As of early December, there have been 170 administrations of Narcan by police in the county, already more than entire amount in 2016. A majority of police departments in the Morris County have had to deploy Narcan at least once this year.Mt. Olive Police badge

Mount Olive Township Police Chief Stephen Beecher knows the extent of the problem very well.

“Our community has been deeply affected by the heroin and opiate epidemic,” Chief Beecher said.

“In 2017, Mount Olive police officers have so far saved 19 victims from opioid overdoses by deploying nasal Narcan, which has proven to be an invaluable resource in stemming the number of deaths, and offering families and those with opioid addictions another chance for recovery. We are grateful that Prosecutor Knapp will supplement Narcan resources through use of the narcotic forfeiture funds.”

The distribution is designed to restock every agency with the dosages they used this year in addition to providing dosages to departments that have not yet needed to deploy Narcan.

photo of Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp

Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp

“The Narcan program in Morris County is a critical component to our multidisciplinary approach in combating the opiate epidemic,” said Prosecutor Knapp. ” This funding is made possible through the utilization of drug forfeiture funds seized from for-profit illegal drug dealers who adversely effected Morris County.

“The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to save lives and direct those addicted to treatment resources immediately after overdoses are reversed”.

The need for Narcan is another sobering sign of the heroin and opioid epidemic gripping Morris County. Overdose deaths in the county during 2017 are considerably ahead of last year’s pace.  Unfortunately, there have been 76 fatal opiate overdoses this year within Morris County.

Inquiries should be directed to First Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Zelante at 973-285-6200.