Opioid Antidote And Overdose Prevention Act Case Study

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Opioid Antidote and Overdose Prevention Act

New Jersey Legislation Assembly No. 2082

Nicholas Faraldi

12/4/2014

Description of the Act and Sponsorship
The Overdose Prevention Act was last amended January 14th of 2013. The act was created to protect witnesses to overdoses so they could help someone who is overdosing with immunity from any prosecution. The act also encourages the use of naloxone or other opioid blockers to healthcare professionals to prevent the deaths of opioid overdoses. While not explicitly saying it, this bill is focusing on treatment of drug addiction instead of punishment for it. This bill was passed just prior to the heroin epidemic of Ocean County, New Jersey.
The bill was a bipartisan effort however
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Naloxone which is also known as Narcan has been controversial in Ocean County but it has saved lives. Since April of 2014, Narcan has saved over 100 people in Ocean County alone since the use of the drug was first given to EMT workers and police officers who are the first responders. The reason for this is that the drug can immediately revive a person overdosing from any kind of opiate-based substance. What is not addressed in the bill but is important to know is that Narcan effectively puts the person having an overdose into almost immediate withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from heroin is commonly called “dope sickness” and can lead a person right back to getting high because the only way to stop the withdrawal symptoms is to use again or go on an opiate replacement therapy drug. One can only wonder how many lives might have been saved had Narcan been introduced to emergency service people sooner. The bill also frees people administering Narcan to overdose victims from prosecution as well in the case that the patient has an adverse reaction or is too far gone from saving.
Target Population: Who
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It is helping to provide education and awareness to the general public on substance abuse and helping to create better treatment of addiction as well as lessen the social stigmas surrounding addiction. It is also giving victims of overdoses a fighting chance to live and providing them with an opportunity to find a new way to live by giving them access to addiction treatment facilities. By continuing to advocate and promote awareness, social work policy like this can hopefully lessen the heartache of families and friends and give people suffering from addiction

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