By: Shannon Persad
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Murphy Administration Increases Efforts to Save Lives from Opioid Addiction
New Jersey’s opioid epidemic continues across the state, forcing officials to take action.
On June 24th, 2019, the New Jersey Health Department allowed paramedics to carry and administer buprenorphine after a naloxone reversal. It was a bold move that was effective immediately, receiving both praise and criticism.
Now, the Murphy Administration leads the way by increasing access to naloxone, believing it will save lives around the state. More people will now have access to naloxone through multi-agencies, including free disbursement. Also, the likelihood of getting help for opioid addiction through Medicaid has increased, with access to treatment as an option.
The Department of Human Services on June 14th, 2019, distributed 32,000 free naloxone doses to 16,000 New Jersey residents. The purpose of this event was to prepare residents in case of an emergency, such as a friend or loved one overdosing on opioids.
Because New Jersey has administered naloxone 27,442 times in two years, the Murphy Administration sees this as a necessary measure.
What is Naloxone?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSA) defines naloxone as a medication to treat opioid overdoses. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is used to revive victims of opioid abuse, such as a heroin or morphine overdose.
Naloxone works by blocking opioid receptors, reversing overdose effects. It’s applied in four ways: injection, under the skin, into the muscle and intranasal spray. As of today, naloxone is the most vital medication given to reverse an overdose, saving thousands of lives each year.
To obtain naloxone, one must have a prescription. However, with the opioid epidemic, it is now more available in New Jersey than before, even without a prescription at certain pharmacies and grocery store chains. The Murphy Administration sees naloxone as a critical component, making it apart of their Harm Reduction Strategy.
Upcoming Substance Abuse Events in New Jersey
The recent moves by the Murphy Administration have been in preparation for its Harm Reduction Strategy event. The main goal of the Harm Reduction Strategy across New Jersey is to educate people on overdoses, preventative measures, and protection from bloodborne pathogens.
The Department of Health on August 21st, 2019, will host Fight Stigma to End Overdose Epidemic: A Harm Reduction Workshop with its aim to prevent harm and overdoses.
August 31st, 2019, is International Overdose Awareness Day.
To read more about this move by the Murphy Administration, click here.