Editor’s note: This version contains updated statistics on opiate fatalities.
Narcan should be part of every Good Samaritan’s toolkit.
You can obtain this life-saving drug–which reverses potentially fatal overdoses of heroin and prescription painkillers–if you are in Morristown today, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.
The Hope One mobile recovery van is parked outside the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer at 36 South St. until 2 pm.
After a 10-minute training session, you will be given a free rescue kit containing one dose of Narcan nasal spray and a plastic cuff that enables you to administer “life breaths” to an overdose victim without fear of infection.
According to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, county-wide fatalities from opiate overdoses increased from 35 in 2014 to 43 in 2015.
That number spiked to 73 last year, and has reached 64 so far this year, said Cpl. Erica Valvano of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office.
Narcan has been credited with saving dozens of lives, including rescues by police in Morristown and Morris Township.
If you see someone in the throes of an overdose, your first reaction should be to call 911, Madine Despeine of the Mental Health Association of Essex & Morris said on Tuesday.
Then you should administer the nasal spray. The 4 milligram dose is good for 30 minutes; first responders will determine whether they need to administer another dose, Despeine said.
If the victim’s breathing is labored, or has stopped, after you administer the Narcan spray, you should perform life breaths — apply the plastic cuff, pinch the victim’s nose, and deliver a series of two quick breaths, she said.
Despeine and Valvano have set up a practice dummy, and drug counselor Alton Robinson of NJ CARES will demonstrate the procedure.
The Hope One van, a project of Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, brings information about recovery resources to towns around the county, twice a week. The sheriff also has opened a Hope Wing in the Morris County Jail, to connect addicted inmates with recovery programs upon their release.
If you or someone you know needs help overcoming substance abuse, call NJ CARES at 973-625-1143 or visit its website.