New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said every Emergency Medical Services team in the state received a letter asking if they wanted to participate in this initiative.</figure>
New Jersey will send 11,352 free doses of naloxone, also known as Narcan, to 179 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) teams throughout the state, Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson and Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli announced on Thursday, according to a press release.
“The opioid epidemic continues to take far too many of our friends and neighbors,” Johnson said, according to the release. “We’ve previously made naloxone available at no cost to residents, police departments, libraries and homeless shelters, and making it available for free to EMS teams is a sensible next step. We are committed to making naloxone as readily available as possible to as many people as possible — to save as many lives as possible.”
Persichilli said they sent a letter to all New Jersey EMS to ask if they wanted to participate in this initiative, according to the release. Naloxone is being distributed based on the number of agency administrations last year.
“New Jersey continues to battle the overdose epidemic which is being compounded by the current (coronavirus disease) COVID-19 health emergency,” Persichilli said, according to the release. “New Jersey EMS clinicians have been responding to an increase in overdoses in the state and we want to ensure they have tools they need to care for patients.”
Prior to this, the Murphy administration has taken several steps to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the release. This includes naloxone being covered in the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled program, as well as New Jersey Human Services distributing more than 86,000 doses throughout the state.
Additionally, the “Five Minutes to Help Program” was launched fall 2019 by the Department of Health as an initiative for EMS personnel to train and improve connections to care for non-fatal overdose victims, according to the release.
“EMS personnel are often the only medical providers individuals with substance use disorder interact with — their role is vital to not only the care of the patient during and after a reversal, but also to help create a bridge to treatment,” Persichilli said, according to the release. “Through these programs, New Jersey is helping to pave the road to recovery.”