As part of the State’s ongoing efforts to address the opioid crisis in New Jersey, Assembly Democrats John Armato, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Anthony Verrelli sponsor a bill that would permit emergency medical responders to provide opioid antidotes to at-risk individuals and those who may be able to assist them in the event of an overdose.
Emergency medical responders are already allowed to administer opioid antidotes, such as Narcan, to overdose victims. Under the bill (A-5052), responders would be permitted to leave these products behind for someone who may be at risk for an overdose or for the people around them who could help if the individual ever overdosed on opioids.
Emergency medical responders would receive the same protections as other professionals who are allowed to dispense opioid antidotes to people.
Upon the bill passing the Assembly Health Committee on Monday, Assembly sponsors Armato (D-Atlantic), Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Verrelli (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) issued the following joint statement:
“A crisis that was already affecting our communities before COVID-19 has only gotten worse because of the pandemic. New Jersey is now losing over eight lives a day to opioid overdoses, which is a tragedy we cannot ignore.
“Someone with a substance use disorder may be unwilling or unable to seek professional medical care in the event of an overdose. Having an opioid antidote on-hand in these situations may ultimately mean the difference between life and death.
“We must allow our emergency medical responders to dispense this life-saving product in good faith to at-risk individuals or the people in their lives who can administer it in the event of an emergency. This is one critical way in which we can help protect residents from the potential dangers of opioids.”
The legislation now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.