UNION COUNTY, NJ – Trinitas Regional Medical Center is among a group of local hospitals agreeing to replenish free-of-charge the police-administered naloxone supplies of all law enforcement agencies countywide.
Trinitas’s CEO Gary Horan joined acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park, Atlantic Health System Director of Protection and Security Services/Emergency Management Alan J. Robinson, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway President & CEO Kirk C. Tice, and representatives of the Union County Police Chiefs Association and Union County Sheriff’s Office in making the announcement Nov. 10.
The hospitals signed memorandums of understanding with the Prosecutor’s Office pledging to provide new naloxone supplies, the medication that reverses the effects of otherwise potentially fatal drug overdoses, on a quarterly, on-demand basis.
“Narcan can provide our first responders with a window of opportunity that can save a life,” Horan said. “We are very pleased to participate with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office to offer the Narcan which will be distributed to our law enforcement partners. It is beyond question that together we will save lives right here in Union County.”
The agreements are valid for two years and can be renewed. The Prosecutor’s Office and members of the administrative teams at the three hospitals also agreed to meet semi-annually to review the rate of police-administered use of naloxone (also known by its brand name, Narcan) in Union County and to adjust distribution accordingly.
“We greatly appreciate our partnership with Atlantic Health, Robert Wood Johnson, and Trinitas,” Prosecutor Park said. “This is a testament to the fact that when it comes to the fight against prescription drug and opioid abuse, we’re all in this together.”
Use of naloxone by law enforcement officers in Union County began in July 2014, when the Prosecutor’s Office distributed a total of 200 Narcan kits to the county’s 21 municipal police departments. Federal forfeiture funds were used to cover the initial costs, and officers in every department underwent training illustrating precisely how to administer the medication via nasal spray to citizens suffering a drug overdose.
Police departments in Union County reported a combined total of 62 naloxone deployments in 2015. Through October 27, 2016, a total of 128 deployments had been reported to date during the current year, with all but four of the 128 recipients surviving.
A total of 231 people have suffered fatal drug overdoses in Union County since 2011, according to statistics kept by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Intelligence Unit. That figure includes 34 victims to date in 2016.