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Cops in One NJ County Began Carrying Naloxone. Guess What? They Saved Six Lives in Month One.


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In the fiendishly complicated field of addiction, when we know for sure that something works, we should seize on it: Naloxone, the drug that reverses opioid overdoses, saves lives. Rapidly changing laws and attitudes are now allowing its increased distribution across the US, and a local report today illustrates its effectiveness in microcosm.

Police officers in Ocean County, New Jersey, began carrying nasal spray kits earlier this month. Since then, they’ve saved six lives that would otherwise have been lost to overdose. Here’s one of those stories, as reported by Philly.com:

On Wednesday, authorities said Patrolman Jason Malley of the Berkeley Township police responded to a report of a drug overdose in Bayville at about 4:45 p.m. and found a 27-year-old man who was not breathing and unresponsive. Malley and Patrolman John Mulvihill administered Narcan—the brand name for the naloxone nasal spray—and the man was revived in about five minutes, authorities said. He is recovering.

That was the second overdose incident that police responded to that day in Ocean County—following three OD rescues the day before.

Naloxone is easy to administer and isn’t dangerous, even if given to somebody who isn’t overdosing. In a recent Substance.com report about cops who carry naloxone, we were told that this is a vitally important role for law enforcement in particular. Why? “Police usually get there before ambulances—75% or more of the time,” said Officer Peter Buck, a specialized drug recognition officer from Athol, Mass. “We’re out and mobile. It’s a far greater potential that we’ll get there first.”