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Posted Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Requires Life-Saving Narcan for Overdoses to be Complimented Go-Hand-in-Hand by Expert Counseling 

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, in partnership with Morris CARES, Atlantic Health System, Saint Clare’s Health, and the Morris County Department of Human Services, has had success in the implementation of the countywide “Narcan 2.0” drug overdose initiative since its inception seven months ago.

Morris Prosecutor: Narcan 2.0 Program Saving Lives in Morris CountyMorris County CARES logoThe inception of the program in May, which included creation of an Addiction Recovery Response Team, is producing positive results in the fight against the heroin epidemic.

The program requires that every person who has overdosed and had his or her condition “reversed” in the field due to the administration of the drug Narcan by police officers must be counseled by a certified Peer Recovery Specialist before being released. The goal is to provide each survivor with a meaningful second chance at recovery, and to navigate them into a treatment program to help break the cycle of addiction.

Since May, Narcan has been administered 83 times in Morris County by law enforcement officers. Fifty-nine of those persons, or 71 percent, subsequently accepted the services of the Addiction Recovery Response Team. That comes out to a starting success rate of 71 percent.

Of  the 59 overdose victims, a majority used the peer support program, while smaller numbers were sent to detox programs, or for inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Narcan kit

Narcan kit

The program requires every person who has suffered from a drug overdose, and has had their condition “reversed” in the field due to the administration of the drug Narcan, by police officers, to be counseled by a certified Peer Recovery Specialist. The aim is to provide the survivor with a meaningful second chance and to navigate them into treatment to break the cycle of addiction.

Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp

Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp

“Narcan 2.0 is proving to be an overwhelmingly successful response to the opiate epidemic,” said Melody Runyan, Associate Director of Morris CARES (Center for Addiction Recovery Education & Success).  The Peer Recovery Specialist, who are themselves persons in recovery, are using their experiences with addiction to help overdose survivors find and maintain paths to recovery.”

“We are very encouraged by the positive impact of Narcan 2.0 so far,” said Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp. “Law enforcement partnership with the treatment community is enabling the Narcan 2.0 program to save lives. Being a Stigma-Free County helps those suffering from substance abuse disorder to break away from this horrific disease.”

On May 18, 2017, the Prosecutor’s Office launched “Narcan 2.0.” Prosecutor Knapp worked in concert with the Sheriff’s Office, local law enforcement, medical, social service agencies, and the county Department of Human Services  to start this effort, and provided Morris CARES with $10,000, to train Peer Recovery Specialists. The funds were obtained from civil forfeiture proceedings against drug dealers.

All Peer Recovery Specialists must pass an exam and be properly trained by Morris CARES,  which is a non-profit, recovery organization based in Rockaway Borough.

Morris Prosecutor: Narcan 2.0 Program Saving Lives in Morris County


The heroin and opioid epidemic continues to affect lives across Morris County, where at least 79 people died in 2017 from an opiate overdose. Programs such as “Narcan 2.0” attempt to utilize recovery as the main tool in saving those suffering from substance abuse disorder, trying to break the cycle of addiction.

To assist Morris County law enforcement first responders, the Prosecutor’s Office recently (Dec.12, 2017) provided additional Narcan supplies to all participating Morris County police departments.

“The Narcan 2.0 program offers hope to opiate abusers, giving them another shot at recovery, and gives their families and loved ones some hope about their future,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo. “I applaud Prosecutor Knapp and the many partners in this very worthwhile effort.”

Inquiries should be directed to Public Information Officer Peter DiGennaro at [email protected] or 973-829-8159.

To learn more about the Stigma-Free effort in Morris County, visit: https://morriscountystigmafree.org/