SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Vincent D. Joseph, Executive Vice President of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), announce that Naloxone (Narcan®) Nasal Spray emergency opioid overdose kits are in the process of being distributed to and deployed by all of Somerset County’s Police Departments and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.
On August 1, officer-coordinators from each of Somerset County’s law enforcement agencies, including the Somerset County Jail, attended training at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy located in Hillsborough Township. The training was conducted by Dr. Kenneth Lavelle, an EMS Medical Director and a Clinical Instructor of Emergency Medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Lavelle served as medical advisor to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office when law enforcement in Ocean County developed a very successful pilot program for the administration of opioid antidotes. That program was eventually released to law enforcement agencies throughout the State.
Since the turn-key-training, the agency officer-coordinators have been training other officers in their respective agencies. Once an officer completes the training, they are certified in the administration of opioid antidotes such as Naloxone.
Prosecutor Soriano states that as a result of a partnership formed with RWJUH, 209 kits have been purchased by the hospital for delivery to local law enforcement agencies. “The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and, for that matter, law enforcement throughout Somerset County, have had a long-standing and robust relationship with RWJUH Somerset (formerly Somerset Medical Center). When the opioid antidote program was developed and proposed for statewide release, I could not think of a better partner to reach out to. RWJUH Somerset supplied all of the kits necessary for our entire program in Somerset County.”
“We’ve enjoyed a mutually supportive relationship with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office,” said Vincent D. Joseph, Executive Vice President of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. “Having previously partnered with the Prosecutor’s Office on its public awareness campaign to stop texting and driving, we saw an opportunity to lend our support and resources to provide local law enforcement officials with the proper supplies to effectively respond to emergency situations in an effort to save lives within our community. Together, we have made and continue to make positive impacts on the health and wellbeing of our community.”
Prosecutor Soriano and Manville Police Chief Mark A. Peltack further point out that the opioid antidote program has had an immediate impact in Somerset County as an overdose reversal has been achieved. This past Wednesday, within one hour after receiving training in the administration of the opioid antidote by Lieutenant John Crater, Manville Police Officers Richard Ozieblo and Christopher Morrison were dispatched to a residence in Manville for a call of a 19 year-old female who was exhibiting signs of an opioid overdose. Finding the female unresponsive, the officers employed their newly acquired skills and administered nasal Narcan to her. Within minutes, the female regained consciousness and was transported to a local hospital by emergency medical services personnel.
Opioid antidote programs have been credited with saving dozens of lives in Ocean and Monmouth Counties. Prosecutor Soriano indicates that he expects Somerset County’s program to be fully implemented by the middle of September.