CLARK, NJ - Clark Police administered Nasal Naloxone, or "Narcan” for opioid-based overdoses more frequently in 2018 in comparison to 2017 according to departmental records.
Police Chief Pedro Matos said officers administered Narcan a total of 12 times in 2018 in comparison to 9 times in 2017. All 12 individuals were saved by officers according to Matos, “giving them a fighting chance to hopefully live a sober life.” In the prior year, Narcan saved all but one of the individuals police attempted to revive.
In total Clark had 18 suspected overdoses with one reported death in 2018. The deceased was a 28-year-old male from out of town spending the night at a friend’s home in Clark.
Matos said Clark residents accounted for eight of the suspected overdose calls to which police responded. Clark officers administer Narcan to three of them upon arrival. In four other cases, victims had not overdosed and were conscious and alert when police arrived. Those individuals were transported to hospitals for treatment and Narcan was not used. One other Clark resident had Narcan administered by a family member before police arrived. The Clark residents ranged in age from 17-58. Six were women and two were men.
According to Matos, the other nine Narcan administrations in 2018 were for individuals that did not live in Clark. He reported that three were either drivers or passengers in vehicles on the Garden State Parkway. One was a person arrested who subsequently overdosed at the police station. Four were individuals in cars in parking lots adjacent to the Garden State Parkway and one other was a person working in town. These victims ranged in age from 21-53. Three were women and six were men.
When asked why Clark had a higher rate of Narcan use than other local towns with similar demographics, Matos had some insights. He said that he and other law enforcement officials managing departments in towns with a major highway running through or adjacent to them often see more people pulling off the road to feed their addiction.
Matos said it is not uncommon for people from other regions of New Jersey to travel north on the GSP to various towns to purchase drugs. He said the theory is their addiction makes it difficult to wait once they have the drug in their possession, so drivers pull off the road in towns like Clark, Cranford, Kenilworth, Union and others close to major thoroughfares to do drugs and sometimes end up overdosing.
Clark’s upward trend of Narcan use is in line with a larger upward trend in Union County for 2018. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office Official Twitter page has more information about county-wide statistics on Naloxone (Narcan) deployments. https://twitter.com/UCPONJ