In New Jersey, overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death. These deaths are preventable.
To help avoid needless overdose deaths, DPA launched the Overdose Prevention Campaign by advocating for the Overdose Prevention Act, which became law in May of 2013. It encourages overdose witnesses to call 911 by providing Good Samaritan legal protections to overdose victims and those seeking help and allows doctors to provide the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone (Narcan®), to anyone who may be in a position to assist in an overdose emergency. Learn more about our overdose prevention victory here.
As well as continuing to support comprehensive implementation of the Overdose Prevention Act, we’ve expanded the campaign to advocate for Assembly Bill 2334/Senate Bill 295. This important legislation will help ensure that naloxone is readily available in pharmacies throughout the state by authorizing the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy to develop protocols for direct dispensing of naloxone without a prescription.
In addition to calling 911 in opioid overdose emergencies, witnesses can safely and easily administer naloxone to counteract respiratory depression associated with opioid overdose. This restores the victim’s breathing as quickly as possible when every moment counts, preventing possible brain damage and death. While thousands of lives have already been saved because of New Jersey’s expanded access to naloxone, more must be done. Far too many people are still unable to access naloxone because of the limited capacity of community programs and the barrier of scheduling doctors’ visits.
Although some individual pharmacies are currently able to offer naloxone to individuals without a prescription, this is not a statewide policy. New Jersey must grant this capability to licensed pharmacists throughout the state. Assembly Bill 2334/Senate Bill 295 would take an important step forward by directing the New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy to adopt standardized protocols for licensed pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription. This will ensure that more people are prepared to help in overdose emergencies.
Assembly Bill 2334/Senate Bill 295 will enable individuals at risk for overdose, their families, friends and peers to conveniently obtain naloxone at a pharmacy, better ensuring that naloxone is in the hands of those who are in the best position to help in overdose emergencies.
Please join us in supporting this critical piece of legislation.