Trenton—Last week, Governor Christie signed Senate Bill 295 / Assembly Bill 2334 into law. This life-saving legislation expands access to naloxone by making it available without a prescription in more pharmacies across the state.
After the signing of the bill, Roseanne Scotti, State Director of the New Jersey office of the Drug Policy Alliance issued the following statement.
“Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death nationally and in New Jersey. Most of these fatalities involve opioids such as prescription painkillers or heroin. The majority of overdose victims do not actually die until one to three hours after taking a drug, and most of these deaths occur in the presence of others. This creates a significant opportunity for witnesses to intervene and provide help. In addition to calling 911, overdose witnesses can administer the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone (also known by the trade name Narcan).”
“Naloxone is a life-saving prescription medication that counteracts respiratory depression associated with opioid overdose. Restoring the victim’s breathing as quickly as possible is the best way to prevent brain damage and death in an overdose emergency. Naloxone has no abuse potential, few side effects and is simple to administer, making it safe and easy for laypeople to use.”
“Currently in New Jersey, pharmacists can dispense naloxone without a prescription using a standing order from a physician. This has allowed large chain pharmacies including CVS and Walgreens, who have physicians on staff, to provide their customers with access to naloxone.”
“For smaller pharmacies, without physicians on staff, providing a way to dispense naloxone without a prescription gives them the option of providing the same service to their customers and the community, and will help save more lives in New Jersey.”
“We thank Governor Christie, Senator Vitale and Assemblyman Benson for their leadership on this important issue.”
The Drug Policy Alliance led the Overdose Prevention Campaign which previously advocated for the passage of the Overdose Prevention Act and legislation to expand access to naloxone. Thousands of needless deaths have already been prevented through the work of the Campaign and Senate Bill 295 / Assembly Bill 2334 will prevent more deaths by further expanding access to naloxone.