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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced the Narcan Pilot Initiative today. The new Initiative will allow police officers and first responders to carry Narcan, the anti-narcotic which may save lives in cases of narcotics overdose.
Governor Chris Christie held a press conference at the Herbertsville Fire Company in Brick, New Jersey on April 2 to announce the Narcan Pilot Initiative. I had the opportunity to attend.
The Narcan Pilot Initiative will allow police officers and first responders to carry Narcan, a drug that, when administered during a heroin overdose, can save lives. EMTs and medical professionals have been carrying Narcan for decades, but now will be much more available, much more quickly.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, Acting Attorney General John Hoffman also attended the event.
“Unless we recognize and call out the failures of the system and remove the stigma of dealing with addiction for what it really is – a disease – we won’t make progress,” the Governor said during the conference. “That’s why we’re taking a different approach in New Jersey, one that changes the conversation by putting people and treatment first. Today, we’re adding another new tool in our fight to save lives from drug abuse and addiction."
Each Narcan kit costs about $50, but the initial cost of the program will be funded through criminal cash forfeitures, state officials announced. After that, each county will need to seek funding for the kits on its own.
The Initiative will start in Ocean and Monmouth counties, where overdose deaths doubled between 2012 and last year. Other counties have already expressed interest in the program as well.
The first Narcan kits will be delivered to police in about 45 days.