Pubdate: Sat, 09 Aug 2014
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2014 Asbury Park Press
Authors: Stephanie Loder and Amanda Oglesby


FREEHOLD - Two dozen people are alive after overdosing on heroin two
months after the first kits of the heroin overdose antidote Narcan
were delivered to police departments across Monmouth County.

On Sunday, a 16-year-old Colts Neck girl and a 15-year-old Middletown
girl received Narcan after police in their respective townships
responded to reports of their heroin overdoses. The 15-year-old
Middletown girl needed two doses to reverse the effects of her heroin

However, not every dose of Narcan, or naloxone, results with an
overdose reversal, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said.

A 50-year-old Wall Township man died despite receiving the antidote
from police and emergency personnel. On Wednesday, Wall Township
police responded to a township residence where they found the man
unresponsive with no pulse and not breathing, according to the
prosecutor's statement.

A past history of drug abuse issues and evidence at the scene prompted
the use of Narcan. The man was taken to Jersey Shore University
Medical Center in Neptune where he died later that day, authorities

"This man's death serves as a reminder that naloxone is not a cure-all
for heroin addiction, and is by no means a 100 percent fail-safe
alternative to reversing the effects of a heroin overdose," said
Charles Webster, a spokesman for acting-Monmouth County Prosecutor
Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Naloxone was first used on June 5 in Ocean Township less than four
hours after Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Marc C. LeMieux
was joined by members of the Monmouth County Police Chief's
Association to announce use of the antidote.

To date, Narcan has been deployed 26 times by law enforcement officers
across Monmouth County reversing the effects of the heroin overdose 24
times. Since Narcan started being used by law enforcement officers in
Monmouth County, seven women and 19 men have received the overdose
antidote - and all but one reversed the effects of the overdoses,
according to the statement from the prosecutor's office.

The Borough of Belmar is leading the way with overdose reversals at
five, closely followed by Middletown with four reversals and Keansburg
with three reversals, according to the statement.

"A heroin overdose is serious business, and not something that can be
taken lightly by users who are thinking naloxone will save the day,
because although naloxone is a life-saver most of the time it is not a
life-saver all of the time," said LeMieux.

In April, Monmouth and Ocean counties were designated by Governor
Chris Christie as the pilot programs for deployment of Narcan with law
enforcement officers.

By the end of the month, a designated training officer from every law
enforcement agency in Monmouth County, including the law enforcement
entities at Brookdale Community College and Monmouth University, were
trained during two train-the-trainer sessions at the county police
academy. Those trainers were tasked with returning to their respective
departments to train the patrol officers in using the overdose antidote.

Since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths attributed to prescription
opiates has increased over 400 percent, and from 2006 to 2010 there
has been a 45 percent increase in heroin overdose deaths across the
United States.

In New Jersey there was a 24 percent increase in opiate and heroin
related overdose deaths in just the 18- to- 26-year-old group - the
largest user group abusing heroin and prescription opiates.

In Monmouth County, between 2011 and 2013, the rate of people who died
from heroin and prescription opiate abuse is three times the number of
homicides and highway fatalities combined.

The deployment of naloxone is an added tool for law enforcement across
New Jersey to aid in the fight against heroin and opiate overdose
deaths, but prevention and education are the key ingredients to
fighting this deadly addiction.

In May 2012, Christie signed into law "The Overdose Prevention Act"
providing a two-prong approach to aid in the prevention of drug
overdose deaths across New Jersey by providing legal protection to
people who are in violation of the law while they are attempting to
help a drug overdose victim, and eliminating legal action against
health care professionals or bystanders who administer overdose
antidotes in life-threatening situations.

In August 2013, Gramiccioni declared the prescription opiate and
heroin problem in Monmouth County had reached epidemic proportions.
That declaration was followed by Gramiccioni launching a heroin
awareness program for parents and students to bring attention to the
fatal reality of prescription opiate and heroin addiction in
collaboration with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey,
Prevention First and many other institutions and organizations working
in the trenches of getting drug abusers the help they need.

The awareness campaign was sparked by the increase in overdose deaths
for young adults in the 18-26 years old group, and has focused on
changing the conversation about the realities of heroin and
prescription opiate addiction and the fatal consequences for the
biggest killer of people in Monmouth County.

The naloxone kits are paid for by forfeiture funds in the County Law
Enforcement Trust Account (CLETA). The CLETA fund is an accumulation
of money seized during arrests as the proceeds of illegal activity.
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