WESTFIELD, NJ — Across Union County, 129 people died of suspected opioid overdoses in 2019, state data show.
On Wednesday, Westfield Police announced that each of its 61 law enforcement officers will carry the opioid antidote naloxone — commonly known by its brand name, Narcan. Westfield police obtained the naloxone through a state grant, Battiloro said. Naloxone, which is administered through a nasal spray, blocks the potentially fatal effects of opioids when someone overdoses.
The department has carried naloxone in its “first line patrol vehicles” since 2014 and last year officers successfully administered the opioid antidote five times, Battiloro said.
“Yes, the opioid epidemic has impacted even Westfield,” Battiloro said in the release. “We are not immune to the tragic effects of opioids, and now every Westfield officer will have naloxone on his or her person at all times, ready for immediate deployment.”
While the 129 suspected drug overdose deaths in Union County in 2019, marked a reduction from the 150 deaths recorded in 2018, according to state Health Department figures, that number was still more than the 98 drug deaths recorded four years prior.
Expanded access to naloxone in Westfield follows the expansion of addiction services offered county wide to people arrested in connection with low level drug offenses. Last month, officials announced that Union County is New Jersey’s first county to offer the drug intervention services round-the clock.
Email Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @MattKadosh
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