Overdose Prevention Campaign: Expanding Access to Naloxone

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In June 2012, we launched the second phase of the Overdose Prevention Campaign to advocate for the enactment of S2082/A3095, the Opioid Antidote and Overdose Prevention Act, to expand access to naloxone, a life-saving medication that rapidly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.  Naloxone has no addictive properties and can be safely and effectively administered by anyone who undergoes a simple training.

Unfortunately, because it is only available by prescription, naloxone is not widely accessible to those who need it and a complex set of laws and regulations currently govern when and by whom it may be used.  Our bill would reform and clarify some of these requirements by providing legal protections to medical professionals who prescribe naloxone and laypeople who administer the medication in an overdose emergency.

On May 3, 2013, Governor Christie signed into law the Overdose Prevention Act, a modified version of this bill.  The law will encourage doctors to prescribe the medication to those at-risk of an overdose, as well as protect friends, family members and acquaintances who administer the medication in a life-or-death situation from legal repercussions.  New Jersey is now well on its way to implementing a comprehensive and objective public health strategy to combat the rising number of drug overdose deaths.

Thanks to this law, the South Jersey AIDS Alliance was able to establish and maintain a naloxone training and distribution program beginning in November of last year. Since that time, they have provided hundreds of kits containing this medication to those in our communities who are vulnerable to opioid overdose. There have already been several reported cases of lives saved, including a mom who was able to revive her daughter! The program relies on a small grant that will only stretch so far. Please consider a small donation to help sustain their efforts.

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