FLORHAM PARK, NJ - The life of a Florham Park resident was saved last Wednesday by police officers who administered the drug NARCAN, an opiate antidote that is used to reverse the effects of an overdose.

On Nov. 9, 2016 at 8:27 p.m. Florham Park Police Officers responded to a residence for a report of a 40-year-old male who was unresponsive and not breathing.

On their arrival, Officer Thomas Ciasullo and Officer Robert Mercuro found the victim in the basement, lying unresponsive on the floor not breathing. The officers observed signs of opiate drug use in the area of the victim indicating a possible overdose. Officer Ciasullo and Officer Mercuro immediately began life saving measures including CPR and the administration of nasal NARCAN (naloxone hydrochloride).

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Following the administration of NARCAN, the victim regained a faint pulse and began breathing on his own. Florham Park First Aid Squad and paramedics from Atlantic Health System transported the victim to Morristown Medical Center for further treatment.

This is the second time Florham Park Police Officers have administered NARCAN. The previous incident also resulted in a successful recovery of the victim. 

NARCAN has been the subject of increasing media attention since the Food and Drug Administration approved a nasal spray version of the drug last November, and reports of police and medical professionals using the drug to save lives have become more commonplace. The drug works by reversing the severe respiratory depression that is a result of a opiate overdose and can be fatal if left untreated. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the abuse of and addiction to opioids such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain relievers is a serious and growing global problem It is estimated that between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide, with an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin. The consequences of this abuse have been devastating and are on the rise.  For example, the number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers has soared in the United States, more than quadrupling since 1999.  There is also growing evidence to suggest a relationship between increased non-medical use of opioid analgesics and heroin abuse in the United States. (Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings and World Drug Report 2012)

As previously reported, city and county officials have been concerned about the rise in opiate abuse locally and as a result formed the Morris Area Coalition for Education and Positive Choices. The Coalition recently held its first master class to discuss the reality of drug use in Morris County and give parents tools to help spot warning signs in their children. The master class included presentations regarding drug proliferation by the Florham Park Police Department and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.