Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III, and Hunterdon Healthcare President and CEO, Robert P. Wise, announced that Hunterdon Healthcare is donating $3,450 to resupply law enforcement officers in Hunterdon County with Naloxone, a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of a heroin or opiate overdose.
In July 2014, Hunterdon Healthcare donated $2,500 to fund Naloxone training and the purchase of Naloxone for law enforcement in Hunterdon County. In April 2016, Hunterdon Healthcare donated an additional $3,800 to resupply the Naloxone inventory. To date, Hunterdon Healthcare has donated $9,750 to support law enforcement in this life-saving initiative.
Naloxone is a life-saving medication that blocks the effects of an opioid for a period of time and permits emergency responders to get the victim to the hospital for treatment. The Naloxone spray comes in an aerosol form and is administered just like a nasal spray. The effects of an opiate can last up to four hours so overdose victims who are administered Naloxone will still require medical attention. The next lot of Naloxone purchased will be a new and improved version. The new design consists of an easy to use, one piece delivery system that deliver an increased dose of naloxone.
According to Prosecutor Kearns, “We are grateful for the generous donation and the continued support by Hunterdon Healthcare. Our partnership with Hunterdon Healthcare reminds us we need a united front in fighting the heroin epidemic. We cannot look at this scourge as just a law enforcement problem; rather we must also consider it and address it as a public health crisis. By having Naloxone available to police departments in Hunterdon County we are able to give people a second chance and allow them the opportunity to seek help and begin the recovery process.”
Robert P. Wise, President and CEO, Hunterdon Healthcare stated, “We are pleased to continue our support of Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns’ overdose treatment program. Our partnership with the Hunterdon County Prosecutors Office and local law enforcement has proven to save lives and give the victims of overdose a second chance. I commend Prosecutor Kearns for his passion and dedication to reduce the heroin epidemic in Hunterdon County. It has become a model partnership for the rest of New Jersey.”
“Heroin abuse has surged in New Jersey, as young prescription pill addicts turn to heroin when they find they are unable to afford oxycodone and other prescription opiates. Heroin, today, is extremely pure here in New Jersey. An unsophisticated user is extremely prone and vulnerable to an overdose,” said Kearns, “Additionally, there are no quality controls and a person who buys heroin on the street never really knows what they are getting.”
Robert P. Wise also stated “As the local hospital, we understand that addictions are a serious illness, but are treatable. This is a first step in helping to save a life. The next would be to seek out support from our Hunterdon Behavioral Health department which offers comprehensive mental health and addiction services.”
The Prosecutor added, “Previously, only hospital staff could administer Naloxone. But it became legal for police officers to administer the drug when Governor Christie signed the Overdose Prevention Act, a “good Samaritan” law aimed at protecting those who render aid to overdose victims. Police officers are usually the first to arrive on the scene of an emergency, and in the case of an overdose, minutes could be the difference between life and death. ”
Caption holding the check left to right: Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III accepts a check from Hunterdon Healthcare President and CEO, Robert P. Wise, to resupply law enforcement officers in Hunterdon County with Naloxone, a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of a heroin or opiate overdose. Also pictured: Christine Cochrane, Director of Acute Behavioral Health Service, Hunterdon Behavioral Health, Edward Spector, MD, Medical Director, Hunterdon Medical Center Emergency Services, Marty Hogan, Director, Hunterdon Medical Center’s Mobile Intensive Care Unit, Christine Skotzko, M.D., Medical Director, Hunterdon Behavioral Health, Gary Piscitelli, Director, Hunterdon Behavioral Health, Joe Cesare, Patrolman, West Amwell Township Police Department, Keith Giera, Paramedic and Daniel Kazar, Paramedic, both with Hunterdon Medical Center’s Mobile Intensive Care Unit.